January 25, 2011
It’s now been a week since I returned from my parent’s home in Florida. I’m still catching up on chores, and bills, and Lauren’s needs. The bonding, which the dentist used to repair Lauren’s tooth while I was away, has somehow come off. I scheduled another appointment which then had to be cancelled due to the ice storm on Tuesday. We now can’t get another appointment until February.
I had only been home for two days when my father called to ask what to do for my mother who had had a bad night and was now experiencing pain in a different area. I have nothing to tell him, nothing to suggest. This seems to be a chronic problem. Pain meds don’t seem to help very much. I checked on them again a few hours later and Mom was doing a bit better.
I find myself so torn right now between fearing that my parents won’t agree to move back home and fearing that they will. I can’t provide the care that they need from a thousand miles away. Yet, if Lauren is successful in moving into her own home in the spring, it will be the first time in twenty-five years that I will not be a primary caregiver. I will finally be able to give my husband my attention – he has had to take second place in my life for too long. It’s not just that though, I know that I need a break. I watch my reactions, my resiliency to the stresses and challenges in life and its obvious that I am not handling things well, or as well as I should. I seem to be “losing it” a lot more lately. What used to be bumps in the road now seem more like cliffs. Which one will be the one where the fall is too far to get back up again?
There seems to be so much to worry about lately. I worry about the ups and downs and details of Lauren’s move. I worry about the economy and the state of our world in the years to come. I worry about how long my eighty-seven year old father can hold up providing this level of care for my mother. He’s amazing - healthy and sharp. But he’s getting tired – I understand that. He’s usually all alone with the problem – I understand the fear of that. They are no longer active in the neighborhood, ready at a minute’s notice to go out with “the gang”. So, they have been left behind, isolated and forgotten – I understand that too. Over the years, Lauren has tried to participate in programs, camp, extracurricular programs, but her ability to participate is affected by of her challenges and she would end up on the fringes, excluded, isolated from the mainstream of activity. So now, she has caregivers and no friends. Just like my parents, she goes shopping, to her appointments, and watches TV. But she has people who care about her always hovering near. My parent’s do not. My father puts up a good front, but I think he is beginning to worry about how long he can keep this up, too.
And so these cold winter days seem to hold us all in limbo, everyone holding on until the next change in circumstances, the next crisis, the next bump in the road, never knowing if it will indeed be a bump....or a very scary cliff.