Lately I’ve been finding myself so stressed out about everything.
I want to be at peace with my mother and mother-in-law’s situations, but I can’t.
I want to be at peace with Hubby being either out of the house or sleeping or telling me all about his world but never listening to mine.
I want to be at peace with my body and my screwed up brain.
I want to go out and join a club or be with people. But I know that I can only tolerate people so much and then I have to crawl back here into my hole, where it’s safe. I can’t tell people “I’m sorry I’m abandoning you, but I’ve gotten myself in too deep. I’m feeling strangled because you’re too far into my personal space.”
I want my family to be loving and understanding with each other. Mom being in memory care is the time to compromise and stick together. Instead, it’s tearing us apart.
My life is filled with “I want I want’s”. Deep inside I know that every “I want” is just a creation of my racing thoughts.
I recognize this state of being unable to cope. It started after being gone all last weekend to the photo workshop in Maine. My routines were messed up. I couldn’t get to sleep early and had to double up my sleeping pills trying to get to sleep in a noisy room with flimsy blankets.
In our rush to get out to our 5:45 AM meeting place, I didn’t have time to drink my morning quart of water. And luckily so because there was only one bathroom stop for the entire 12-hour day. I didn’t drink enough coffee, so had a raging coffee headache and nausea. I didn’t take my vitamins. I went through the day feeling dehydrated, and needing to pee. The trip home took an extra hour through bumper-to-bumper inner city traffic because of having to find the camera store to fix Hubby’s camera. The last half-hour of the trip I was struggling not to pull over and throw up. When I finally got home, I curled up in bed and popped 2 Ativan’s, praying for sleep.
So yes, this post is jam pack full of “I”‘s.
Last night in my meditation, my mind started pulling in these whiny “I”‘s. My inner self — that person that is my watcher and listener — recognized the state and gently said to my thinking person, “sh sh sh sh….. it’s ok. We’ll take all of these ‘I”s and just put them in this imaginary bag. I’m not going to ask you to watch your breath or clear your mind or keep your eyes open or to do any of those things that are ‘doing’ things. Give me your hand. We’ll just sit here where it’s quiet and dark and safe and rest your mind. Just rest, don’t strain, don’t follow any meditation ‘rules’, just give your churning brain a rest. Think of this meditation space as the safest place on Earth.”
And so maybe one thing I’m learning is, you can read books until you’re blue in the face on how to meditate. You can do it perfectly every time. But it’s nothing without your compassionate listener being awakened to take your hand and guide you through the mess that is your thinking brain.
May my compassionate listener be with me over this coming week as I help clean up the 70-year-old house that my husband was raised in. That house has seen so many wonderful, funny, and sad stories.
It saw the loss of a beautiful 26-year-old daughter, a Harvard PhD in literature, to a car accident. My mother-in-law wanted to die when she lost her daughter, but my father-in-law forced her to travel and by doing that helped her want to live again. For the rest of their lives she and my father-in-law were unable to be consoled from the loss.
The house saw the birth of Hubby and his twin. They were so tiny and colicky, my mother-in-law got no sleep until she found a miracle doctor who gave her banana powder for them.
It saw the death of my father-in-law. He researched construction and built a second floor on the house single handedly when Hubby was just 4 years old. He built cubbyholes, book cases, secret closets, an attic, two bedrooms and a bathroom. In his final days, all he could do was call out my mother-in-law’s name, even as he was lying in bed shrivelled up and unable to move or say anything else. For years, as he was declining, she carried the burden of being his sole caretaker. Every day he would hold his finger to his head and say “shoot me”.
The house saw grandchildren become doctors, lawyers, and mutual fund managers who married doctors and lawyers and bankers and had gorgeous and talented great grandchildren.
In the end, though, it saw my mother-in-law’s dementia get so bad, that she was moved into a memory care facility where today she happily smiles at everyone going in and out of her room, not recognizing anyone. That house that holds such stories – stories that she loved to tell anyone who would listen — is long forgotten in her mind, even though it was only a few months ago that she left it. The stories that she now tells are just a stream of repetitive, incoherent mumblings.
I should find comfort that she’s happy. Instead I feel grief at everything happening around me.
This post is sponsored by the letter “I”.
There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)