Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Sturm und Drang
I'm feeling down. Short days. Not enough time to care for myself. A friend with bad news from her scans. Not seeing my granddaughters. My son living with us. It's all a bit much right now.
My son got out of prison two months ago. Strangely, nobody will hire him with his criminal record. We told him he could live with us for three months and two thirds of that time is up and he has no job, no prospects, no money, no vehicle, nothing. He had a scrap metal company that he pissed away and literally has nothing now. It weighs on me everyday.
My stepdaughter told me, emailed me, that I am a liar and a manipulator who plays favorites with her children. I've given up. She will believe what she wants to believe. And what I know is that the last time my granddaughter was here, she accidently spilled a glass of juice on the floor and then froze, too terrified to move, until her grandfather picked her up and comforted her, told her that everything was okay. I know that terrified look, I know that terrified feeling as a child. That's how I grew up. Terrified of my father. A father who never once hit me but still terrified me until the day he died. To see that look on my granddaughter's face broke my heart.
Children deserve better. Children don't ask to be born. They arrive because of things their parents have done. They are innocent and we corrupt them. This weighs on me everyday.
My friend who used to be my patient has been told that she has a year or less to live. She's planning her funeral now, still with her sense of humor fully intact. We're going to visit them this weekend but she's in hospital now. I guess I'll get to check out the Jasper hospital.
I'm trying so hard to not be depressed. I'm meditating, I'm doing that Tonglen thing and still all I want to do is cry and it upsets the big guy because he can't fix me. I don't want to disappoint him but it just hurts so much inside of me.
I know it will pass. The clouds will clear and the sun will shine again but today it is sturm und drang.
Sunday, 26 November 2017
Things I'm thankful for today.
Katie is back on the regular dose of antipsychotics. We tried decreasing with disastrous results, head banging, face smashing, etc.
I started quilting. I decided to make quilts for my children and grandchildren, even if I won't be able to give the quilts to my granddaughters until they are adults, the quilts will be made.
Tonglen. It's helping, especially when I'm really angry.
The big guy.
Supper out with friends last Thursday.
A warm, comfy home because the wind is blowing this morning.
A sweet little dog curled up on the chair beside me.
A visit to Jasper next weekend to visit friends and mountains.
In the new year I will only be working four days a week. I will have time.
Sorting through old family photos.
Katie ran into an old caregiver and her new baby in the mall yesterday. The caregiver sent me a photo. Katie is over the moon. This young woman and her two sisters all took care of Katie at some point. They saved us and they took Katie in as part of their family. They still keep in touch with her.
What are you thankful for today?
Monday, 13 November 2017
My mum at seventeen which would have been in 1942. World War II was three years old. She had met my father two years before this photo was taken. She looks so young. When I was visiting my aunt in September, I spent a lot of time with my cousin. She told me about my granny, mum's mother. I only met my granny twice in my life, both times were in the 1970's so granny would have been in her seventies. She seemed like a stern, scary old lady.
I listened to my cousins tell stories about granny and mum. What I found out is that my granny looked like a stern old lady but apparently she was a lovely old lady with a great sense of humour. Granny had resting bitch face. My mum had a great sense of humour as well and I think that is the greatest gift she gave me.
My cousin grew up on a farm in southern England and granny lived in a small house down the road from them. When mum visited she would stay with granny but they would spend a lot of time at the farm with my aunt and cousins. In the evening, after supper, mum and granny would make their way back to granny's house, down a dark country lane. My cousin was sent to watch them and make sure that they made it home safely. My cousin told me that watching the two of them walk home was like watching two drunks walking home; they were laughing so hard that they staggered. Mum and granny loved each other very much. My aunt told me that when mum left for Canada after the war it almost broke granny. I can imagine.
It's wonderful to hear these stories.
Saturday, 11 November 2017
I have a friend with breast cancer. Actually I had a patient with breast cancer who became my friend with breast cancer. She was first diagnosed twelve years ago. The cancer has now spread. It's in her bones, her brain and other places I can't remember. Yesterday she was in for a CT scan which involves drinking two litres of water with contrast. Just as she was about to go in for her scan she vomited everywhere. I go back to the waiting room to find her vomiting in a garbage can, vomit all down the front of her; she's soaked. She said she was fine and would have the scan done soaking wet but her husband and I vetoed that.
Her husband got her a clean gown, pants and housecoat and I took her into the bathroom to get cleaned up. I washed her and dried her and helped her put her arms in the gown. She sat on the toilet while I took off her shoes and changed her pants. As I was kneeling in front of her, putting her shoes back on her I asked her if she was always so easy going and she said yeah, pretty much.
As I was laying in bed this morning I realized the difference between her and I, and probably why I love her so much, is that she is not suffering, despite all that is going on in her body. She can't change what is happening to her but she is not a fly trapped in a spider web, struggling to escape. She just accepts what happens. She gets up and lives her life. It's much slower now than even six years ago when I first met her but she sews, she visits friends, she enjoys her life. And most importantly to me, she isn't suffering. I am in awe and I am thankful she is my life.
And my suffering, my suffering is in my head which for me makes it harder because the part of me that I need to use to reduce my suffering is also the part of me that causes so much of my suffering. Today is a better day. I'm watching the sun rise as I write this. A new day brings hope and a chance to do better.
Thursday, 9 November 2017
I'm tired. Tired of living with depression that sucks the life out of me. I saw a young doctor the other day for a refill of my meds. She asked how my mood has been in the last two weeks. I've been fighting depression for forty-seven fucking years and she wanted to know how the last two weeks have been. Fine I told her.
I'm practicing my meditation. I'm taking my meds. I walk the dog and still I cry. I told my boss and a friend that I would see a counsellor but the thought of telling my sad tale to another stranger isn't appealing right now.
It's the weather. It's the dark. It's my brain chemistry. It's my failings. It's my life. And it will pass. But right now, tonight, I'm struggling.
Friday, 3 November 2017
Things I'm thankful for today.
I've been meditating for a month now, everyday. I'm finding a middle path.
I'm starting to practice Tonglen, wow. Elizabeth had mentioned it many times and I have avoided it because it sounds difficult, draining and more compassionate that I could possibly be. Except it's not. I deal all day long with people who are suffering and instead of running from their pain, I can take it in now and it doesn't slay me. It's helping and I am so thankful. I am even taking in the pain, fear and suffering of my stepdaughter and her partner. This is harder but helps me. We are all afraid, we all suffer at times. So often fear comes out as anger which is bigger and scarier but deep down, it's just fear.
I'm thankful that come January 1st I will only be working four days a week.
I'm thankful for an extra day off this week.
I'm thankful for my friends.
Thankful for the big guy.
Thankful for a warm bed at night.
Thankful I am talking to my son, not avoiding difficult conversations, calling him out on his vagueness and lies.
Thankful for my inlaws who have given us such wonderful support since my stepdaughter cut us out of our granddaughters' lives.
Thankful for time to sit, reflect, think and meditate.
What are you thankful for today?