I am scared about what will happen when my mother in law dies, and my brother in law, "Bil", faces life without his mother for the first time in his life. "Bil", as my regular readers know, is developmentally disabled.
His mother in law has been there nearly every day of his over 55 years of life. Except for several hospitalizations, and a couple of vacations away from her (during which he was cared for by other family members), she has been in his life daily.
His mother is her interpreter, the person who helps him understand the world. She has cooked for him, cleaned for him, took him to family gatherings. Until the last two years, she was his transportation, as Bil has never been able to learn to drive, and has never been taught to use public transportation. She helped to order his life. Someone, once, observing them, mentioned they sat together like an old married couple.
It's a relationship we can understand intellectually, but not emotionally.
When his father died, he didn't seem to be affected that much. In fact, his reaction was somewhat puzzling.
He blamed his father's death on the family cat.
He didn't try to harm the cat, no. But he insisted that the cat had killed his father. I think the cat also realized that he wasn't all that welcome. Eventually, he went to live with a neighbor, one who owned a cat. The neighbor welcomed the cat and fed him when he showed up. One day, the family cat never returned, deciding he would rather live with the nieghbor.
To this day, we don't understand "Bil"'s logic, and why Bil felt that the cat had killed his father.
But, we know, when his mother (who is nearly 90) passes, it will be different.
We do know his father in law didn't participate that much in his day to day care. It was always his mother who took care of him. His father was in the background.
We don't know how Bil will react. Will he listen to us? Will he show temper and refuse to be reasoned with? It scares me. The thought of my husband's death, or my death, doesn't scare me nearly as much.
What we do know is that the state will not let him stay in the apartment he shares with his mother. And we are not sure how much he understands how much his life will change.
Can any of us truly understand what her death will mean to all of us?
We will have a meeting later this month with a social service agency, and learn more about his future, and what we can do to make sure that Bil's wishes are honored.
Today, I am blogging from a prompt "What scares you most about dying?" at Living My Imperfect Life.