getting a clearer view
What will I be when I grow up? I would ask that question of myself when I was 15. Now I ask myself: What will I be when the fog lifts and I am able to see clearly again? At 65 I hope to still have a few good years ahead of me. My Mum was 82 when my Dad died in January 2000 and never got close to being over his death. She was in complete denial for all the years she still retained her memory. She died last November at 94 from the Alzheimers that had been part of her journey for at least the previous 18 years. My story will be different to hers I know. I am younger, stronger and hopefully still have a good brain. But it is easier sometimes to slip into denial than to go forward alone.
This week has been a song in a minor key, nothing much happening, mainly routine. It was a short week of course with Easter Monday a holiday here. I found plenty to do as usual. There is always housework, yard work and the garden. There were visits to the hospital bearing nightdresses I had washed for Mum's friend Robbie, she is in week six of her hospital stay and hopes the specialist will make a decision she can go home maybe at the end of this coming week. She left for a week's holiday in February ansd is still here in April.
Having Robbie to talk to about Mum has helped me a lot. It is hard to set life straight on your own, you do need people to bounce ideas off and she has provided that for me in my grieving over Mum's death. I can now look at Mum's picture and smile. I try to remember a good memory about her every day. I try to see her life prior to Alzheimers as a good life. I know like us all she had her ups and downs, illness, heartache, worries and cares but she and Dad had a lot of laughs and fun together. I know she was proud of me, she only told me so once or twice but I value those memories.
I didn't see my three grandkids last week since our day together last Sunday. However on Monday I did spend the afternoon with Trev and family. We had spicy BBQ'd chicken wings sitting out on their back lawn near the pool. It felt just like when they used to live close by. I also visited this Saturday after I had been to the WAGS meeting and played with Alice, she is so cute. Ray would have adored her as I do. On the way home I go around the roundabout that I used to turn down to go visit Ray in the nursing home. Sometimes I can keep from crying, ofter I can't. I wish I could take Alice to see her "Pa" and place her in Ray's arms. It is such an intense longing that it causes me pain. I know I should go out the other way but it draws me like a magnet. It is so sad.
I hope that as I stabilise I can fill my life with worthwhile occupations and renew my mind and refresh my soul. In the meantime it is one foot in front of the other - at least a forward movement! I was asked to co-ordinate a group for Grandparents as Parents but with weekly meetings and a lot of research to do that is a fairly big workload. I declined as that is not my area of expertise. I really need to work on what I want to do, what I need to do, what I would have to do to achieve what I want to do. If anything. Sometimes it is better to wait and see what life has to offer instead of pre-empting it.
I did reconnect with a cousin ( well fourth cousin) who was looking for pieces of her family tree she seems to have lost after a computer crash last year. I know that feeling. It is bad when you haven't backed up files, photos and other precious memories and that blank screen shows up and it is all lost. I was able to help her a bit but my family tree has never really come together so I need to work on that at some stage too. I hope to do some clarifying when I go to England later in the year. I should be able to quiz some older cousins and see if I can add stories to names and faces
One of my friends suggested that I should take up volunteering again but I want to be stable first.I had thought of volunteering in Mum's Nursing Home as I know the staff and a lot of the residents there. But I want to be stable emotionally, no sense in getting upset when I am supposed to be looking after other people is there? It isn't just other people who wish I was "over it" I am starting to feel that way too, impatient with myself.
A Buddhist friend said I must try to practise self-forgiveness. He thinks some of what I am feeling is "survivor guilt". I think some of it is still the self-blame, did I do all the right things? Then there is the after midnight wondering: did I do all that I could have possibly done? I just miss Ray and in my less conscious moments wish I could somehow resume a life that still has him in it. I know that is a foolish thought but the thought of being alone for the rest of my life is a daunting one. How do you come to grips with that? It is so permanent.