Lunar light is liminal. Lots of ells in there. Liminal is a word I like and its meaning even more. ‘Relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.’
For most people this liminality passes by without being noticed at all from behind closed eyelids whilst held warmly in the arms of sleep. But not for me. I have entered what appears to be the place of liminal in my life for I do not sleep warmly in anyone’s arms for more than an hour or two. I can see the lunar light, even when the clouds curtain mother moon all around so that only God can see her face. It’s a greenish light, limpid, spread like swamp water across the floor of my room and it sinks my heart every time I wake to find it there. It isn’t that I have a dislike of the moon, far from it, but I don’t want to have to watch her for hours on end. In another time, I didn’t mind at all, turning to look back at the lunar glow seeping around the edges of my curtains and just knowing I could turn away to find sleep again, those arms around me, gently rocking. Not now, and now is precisely the time I need this rest because the demands of dementia are ever growing like an invading army. At first, it was just the beat of marching feet, distant but moving nearer each day. Now they come in tanks that turn the roads of my life into powder dust, destroying the boundaries and crushing the fences. I can keep moving back, but I am just me and they are legion.
I know I am not alone. There are gazillions of broken carers in this world and we all fight it at first shouting What About Me? a lot, to a sky without ears or heart. The quandary of dementia caring is that the carer may shout till hoarse into the oncoming hurricane, even knowing the pointlessness of making such demands on the only set of vocal chords allocated to them, and, yet, what is happening to the cared-for-one is beyond their control. All logic moved out somewhere mid-stage and has no plans to return. Conversations do not exist. Even the word ‘conversation’ is too long to define any exchange of words between us. It is more like random bursts of fire, and not always friendly. He can’t help it. She can’t help it. They can’t help it. Yes, yes, we know that. But how on earth are we to keep breathing through this, let alone imagine living beyond it, whenever that may be. Another dilemma. We want it over. We don’t want it over. And, yet, the person we spent our lives beside, the one who guided, disciplined, protected, laughed with, who soothed our pain, walked tall and full of hope has already gone a long time ago. Is it cruel, in this light of knowledge to wish it over? Yes, at times when the voice of Thankfulness sings from her fence post. Look at what you had. Look at what you have. Kick that self-pity out of the window. And No at others when you are beaten down to a serving girl with no glass slipper in sight. I never know what to think or which is right and which is ‘wrong’. I also know that both are understandable once voiced to another. They show many faces of sympathy but behind their eyes they’re thinking Thank God That Isn’t Me as they turn back to their own homes, devoid of mobility aids and raised toilets, homes for which they are suddenly very grateful indeed.
I am searching for ways to love the liminal light of the lune. Instead of wishing it away, I look it up in the dictionary and decide to use it to my advantage, to absorb the light into myself, to become a part of it and it of me. The second definition for Liminal is ‘ occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.’ Now that sounds like a fine place to be. If I am on both sides of a boundary or threshold, I am really rather marvellous. Versatile. Agile. Sounds good. I may be sleepless but right now I am awake. There is a day ahead when the sun might show his face through those determined clouds, but even if he can’t push through, I can.
And, what’s more, I will.