Saturday, August 4, 2012
I was beaten up. My kids asked me how I felt when I reached New York, the old guy safely stashed in an assisted living facility for Alzheimer's patients. I thought about the question for a few minutes as I was unused to considering my own condition, being pretty swallowed up in ascertaining his. "I feel beaten to a pulp. Pulverized. Done in. Cooked," was my reply. I hadn't realized the toll it takes to care unceasingly for another person since my babies were small. Of course with babies you get lots of rewards in smiles and gurgles and watching their growth. This is the mirror image of that process; the dark underbelly of slow destruction. With this, you get snarls and mood swings and taken for granted and also, somehow, forgotten! I remain the lady who fixes the lunch and finds the pj's. I was in pig heaven in New York. I was working pretty steadily there too, but was primarily responsible for myself and no one else. I did a lot for my kids and loved on my new grandson as much as possible. I got tired but it was very very different. The relief of not being responsible was overwhelming and I have learned, first hand, that I cannot do this alone. Every time anyone mentioned this fact (apparently clear to everyone else, but not to me), I was always reticent as he is not bedridden and has no needs yet that I am physically unable to meet. But I DO need respite and sweet relief from the nagging duties and worries and conflicts. I find his dark cloud of anxiety very heavy to bear for me as well as he. By the time I got home, I actually had been missing HIM, my partner, my husband. I was ready to come back and much more healthy about assuming my duties. I watched him walk down the hall toward me at the assisted living place. When he saw me, he stopped suddenly and shouted, "I don't believe it!" He toddled to me, grabbed me up in a big bear hug, and whispered in my ear, "This is the best day of my life!" Now THAT was a great greeting! When we had finished hugging and kissing, I took his hand and asked him to show me his room and said that we would pack him up and go home. He stopped again, turned toward me and said with a note of wonder in his voice, "Can we?!"