That day when you are the most uncertain about an important outcome, that day you wish would never come to fruition, that day, that one day you dread the most… but today we were smiled upon, we were spared. As anyone who reads my blog knows I have a parent with dementia. He is my Dad; my hero, the man I love more than words can ever put a spin on. Our journey with his illness has not been easy. He and I have done this largely on our own. We have tried to always face it with laughter, love, and the occasional spat. I always have his back just like he has always had mine. Dad thinks he lives in his home town. He doesn’t know what day of the week it is. He doesn’t know current events, or what he last ate; and that is all ok with me. He knows who I AM, so to me he knows everything he needs to know and I see to the rest of it.
I have been there to see my Dad lose a child, lose his wife, lose his way to this terrible disease but never once did I fear that I would lose him, until today. For the first time in a long time I looked at my Dad as an elderly gentleman who had lived better days. I am Dad’s link to the outside world. I make it my duty to take him to all of his appointments outside of his nursing home. I am the keeper of his history. I am his advocate, his voice. I try to do my best to do what’s best for him.
Today Pops had to go to the local hospital for a procedure for some swallowing issues he has been having. Numerous questions regarding his health were directed towards me. I provided the answers they were seeking as best as I could. IVs were started. Charts were checked. I helped Pops put on his hospital gown and hairnet (he looked like an ugly lunch lady). As the medical team rolled him away to his procedure I found myself fighting a wave of panic; the light of realization going on in my head that Pops is not immortal. Fearful thoughts raced through my head and I found myself fighting back tears.
I would like to tell you that I rallied quickly, banished those thoughts and moved on; but, that would be a lie. Instead I nervously picked my way along the hallway to a cafeteria, bought a banana, sang a chorus of Chances Are to a cashier, caught my breath and my composure. I found a bench to sit at to wait for the nurses to call me when Dad hit the Recovery Room. I managed to make it through the banana and a yogurt parfait( I went back for that) and was just purchasing a coffee when my phone rang. Seeing the number on my cell gave me a start but it was a call I had to answer. I was relieved to hear from the surgeon that things had gone well. My dad tolerated the procedure ok and he would be going to recovery soon = )
Live for the people in your life. Love with all of your being. No regrets. Be in the moment, make a memory. People often say to me that Dad is lucky to have me but I think I am the lucky one.
You were like a Spring rain. Intense with high potential for damage. Just like a storm you left someone else to do the clean up, me. In your wildest dreams I bet you never imagined one little girl could leave behind such devastation. Hearts were broken, lives ruined; and yet the sun came out. The sun always shines after a storm. Even the heavens want the world to know there is light after darkness.
You taught me to be brave. You forced me to embrace my life. You have brought me places I wouldn’t go myself, you made me participate in my own life. All it took was you dying. So very sad , so very true. Why did you self destruct? Why didn’t you try harder to leave him? why didn’t you value yourself like I valued you? why didn’t you believe in the wonder that was you?
I have lost my way without you. I like to pretend I am above my feelings. I am drowning in my own pool of denial. The more I try to lie to myself about how I am doing the deeper the pool becomes. My tiny craft is taking on water. I am unable to bail the water fast enough. I am circling the drain wondering where all my time has gone off to adventure without me.
I am becoming an old lady without you. I used to wonder what that unknown part of me was. I finally figured it out. It’s the shards of my broken heart. Just when I think I am in a good space, I feel their pain as they push against my soul. Your laugh I hear only in dreams. Your smile a faded memory that mocks me from photographs. I miss the sound of your voice. I am afraid if I let you go, I will lose what little I have left of you.
When I sit down at my laptop to write it is often to compose myself, to take a breath in before I dissolve into tears. I know I am not the only person in the world in pain. I just choose to share mine. I guess that makes me a little different but I have been odd duck out my whole life so it comes easier for me to bear my soul to strangers. I never try to pretend to have the answers for feelings. I hate to know that people I care about in and around my life are feeling distress or sadness. We are all on our own journeys even though we travel the same path. We all experience loss. I can not keep anyone from knowing it. I wish I could keep you from sadness but your pain is not mine to shoulder. I can only hold your hand, wipe our tears and hope that tomorrow will shine brighter for us all. I don’t think I have ever said thank you to those of you that take the time to read my posts. I am grateful and your feedback has been amazing.
I am just one voice in the night trying to hold on until morning. EVERDAY
it was never about the food. All these years I have held myself separate from all of the things I wanted or needed or cared about. It is not the story but the telling of the tale that matters. I was never taught how to manage my feelings. I was raised to believe my feelings had no place. My wants, needs, desires were of no consequence. I was supposed to learn how to table them not handle them. I think that is one of the reasons that I grew up feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I was a fraidy-cat when I was a kid. No adult ever explained to me that a human body goes through many changes as it develops and grows. I was so fearful I often obsessed with my own untimely demise. My mother just called me ‘Camille”. I was overly dramatic and needed to get a grasp on reality. If it had only dawned on her that I was apprehensive about the changes I was experiencing maybe she would have been gentler with important info, maybe. I taught myself to eat instead of feel. If I eat I won’t need to be in my moments. I won’t get hurt. Turns out the only thing I taught myself was how to buy a bad lie.
Have you ever stood in front of an audience and spoke at great lengths on a subject only to realize that no one is listening to you? Story of my life. I have always felt invisible yet I am not Trish alone. I have my constant companions Fear and Loathing. They seem like nice girls but one never wants to do a thing outside of her comfort zone and the other; well, she just hates everything. It is tough to get one damn thing accomplished. These two scream in my thoughts for attention. Thank Gawd for that ray of sunshine called Hope. I love her. She makes everything seem possible. She speaks quietly, determined to be heard, she lurks in the background waiting for her moments. Her moments are the life changing ones. That voice in your head that says, “I can do this!”, ” I am worthy.” “I crave acceptance not food.”, “I am somebody.” I wish I could learn to listen to her more.
When you take Hope by the hand and embrace all that she has to offer, the possibilities seem endless. Live in the moments that make your life better.
Today I took Hope to a WWs meeting. It’s time for her to make another appearance in my life. I lost my way. I tabled the belief I had in myself because my life got hard. I have taken care of my Dad for nearly eight years. He lives with dementia. Over the Christmas holidays my Dad was placed into a nursing home. For the first time in a very long time, I can relax a tad. Enjoy my moments, have some Hope that tomorrow will be better. I learned a lot about myself in those eight years. I am stronger than I thought I would ever have to be. I can be tough. I am a loving person. I learned how to hug. I lied to myself for years that I was unhuggable. Hugging someone means being so close to a person that you share the good vibe, exchange chakra. There is a warm glow sensed between the hugger and the huggy. A good hug equals total acceptance from me. The person who I am hugging has earned my respect, my trust. I also learned that sometimes when you hug someone you give them a little of your Hope. In the giving of a small part of yourself you make someone else’s battle seem worth the fight.