I continue to forge a new path, but it's a lonely process . . .

6 years ago

 I continue to forge a new path, but it's a lonely process . . .

I don't like it when, upon learning that mom is not in a care center, people automatically comment to me, "Oh, things must be going easier for you now that your mom is being taken care of there."  My inner response is, "Easier than what?"  

There is no rule book stating that things will automatically become easier and less stressful, less frustrating now that mom is tucked quietly away in a care center/nursing home.  In fact, having mom in a nursing home is running me at about the same speed as having her at home did.  The biggest change I can say is that my mornings a quieter now that I don't get mom up and dressed. fed, and ready to start the day.  Now I get only myself up and ready to begin the day.  Funny thing is I always feel in a hurry; feel like I need to get somewhere fast.  I race to get a shower, dressed and out of the house.  Before what?  I have no idea.

I haven't straightened my home since mom went into the care center. The dining room table is cluttered with a pile of coats and jackets, Phil's gym bag, a few folded sweaters, and the never ending pile of recyclable mail.  I look at every single day and I cringe.  The kitchen counters need a good bleaching down, and the floor could use a mopping.  Our bed room is looking junk filled as I was in the process of getting rid of more clothes and abandoned it when mom had the first stroke, and well I just haven't gotten back to it, but I need to.  But when?

As desperately as I want to use the word consumed in this next sentence I am not going to as using consumed makes me sound overly over everything.  Instead let me word it,  when I look at the pile of clothing stacked up in my bedroom I don't even know where to begin.  I know all I need to do is sort it out and toss things into the "to go" heft trash bag, or fold the item neatly in the stack to be out away.  How hard can it be?  it can be hard because since mom has been in the hospital and now care center I can't stand being in the house alone.  Can you imagine?

It completely escapes me what I can't be alone in the house.  That is all I wanted for so long, and now I have it and I can't stand it.  The house is too quiet.  I turn the TV on and try to go about my business of straightening up.  I get side tracked and I want to leave.  Suddenly I must get to the coffee cafe down at the marina where I sit and watch people and boats, and talk to to other people enjoying the view of the water and Vason Island. 

All I ever wanted was some time to myself.  A little time a few times a week to get out and do something just for myself.  To go to the market alone.  To go into Seattle alone.  To go to University Village alone.  Meet a friend for coffee alone.  Now that I can do all this alone, I don't do it.  I don't want to do it.  In fact it almost feels like I don't know how to be alone anymore.  I am so used to having mom with me 24/7, an making all my plans around her, that I am faltering on my own.  I'm lonely.  I miss mom.  

I took mom most everywhere with me.  Unless Phil was home she had to go with me as towards the end I couldn't even leave her alone to run to the market to pick up something I needed to go with dinner.   Mom loves to get out of the house and she loved going anywhere I was going.  Starbucks was a daily stop for us.  The workers there know her and her drink and snack of choice.  In fact if they were down to only one marshmallow treat, they would happily put it away to save for mom, knowing she would be coming in that afternoon.  I would take her to the tanning salon with me, and she'd sit in the waiting area and talk to the girls at the counter.  They all knew her and they were so kind in watching her for me while I was in the tanning bed for 22 minutes.  This was my 22 minutes of alone time and I cherished these 22 minutes.  Now I take a magazine into the bed with me to help make the time go by faster.  Both the Starbucks workers, and the tanning salon girls ask me about mom every day. They ask. "How is Ruby doing, tell her Hi for me."  It is so sweet, and I as I type this I am getting teary eyed.

I do miss mom.  My days are empty now.  Taking care of mom was busy and hard, and I didn't have time to myself, but I had company.  I had the company of my mom who loves me so much and wanted me to be the one to take care of her.  I am the one she chose to.  I forgot about that fact a lot of the time while in the throes of care taking.  Is it too late to remember it now?  

This entire experience the last few months reminds me of the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!"   I did.  

These days my days revolve around taking piano lessons, and 1 hour of practice every day.  I spend time writing my blog a few times a week and pray that BlogHerpre-mom have moved on, most due to never seeing me without mom at my side.  I was, at one time, active in church, but that too ended when mom needed me 24/7 and I couldn't get to meetings and activities.  Feeling my way back into that life doesn't feel right, so I am trying to forge a new path for myself, but it's a lonely process.

In the meantime I enjoy going out to the care center to visiting with mom, and sitting and talking with other family members about how life used to be, and what comes next.  I do find peace knowing that I am not the only one who doesn't know what to do or what is involved in regaining a past life.  

I continue to forge a new path, but it's a lonely process  .   .   .



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