Archive for April 22nd, 2009|Daily archive page

Not just me

It is more and more apparent to me that sooo many people have a burden similar to mine. Or, in many cases, a heavier burden. Their own health crisis. Or a sick kid. Or two sick parents. Whatever. The more people I tell about this blog, the more circumstances I learn about that are similar to mine in some way or another. My younger brother is a lawyer who works on estate planning with clients whose parents have dementia. One of my younger sisters has a coworker with both parents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. One friend’s mother’s dementia dramatically worsened after she broke her hip, and she was immediately moved into assisted living. I read listserves for caregivers and come across so many difficult family situations and unimaginable sorrow. So what makes me so special?

This awareness of the universality of this issue – basically middle-aged people with sick parents – seems to be influencing my own attempts to work through my emotions. I can be very self-absorbed. That’s not very hard. But I also seem to be deflecting something. I can’t pinpoint what it is. I want to appear tough, focused, able. I think I can pull that off. Sometimes I feel very vulnerable, sad, and completely scattered. Totally unable to concentrate. And I just sort of quietly suffer through that stuff most of the time. What else is there to do? Display my misery for someone else to see? The thing is, these moods can change rapidly, whether I have contact with Mom or not. I guess what might be at the heart of my dismay is that I feel no sense of control. I can’t control what Mom might do. I can’t control, as much as I want to, how I’m going to react to her next small crisis. I obviously can’t control my emotions and thoughts, as their comings and goings make no particular sense. I’ve never considered myself a control freak. But I do like a routine – and when my routine is disrupted, I lose control and I am out of sorts. And just about everything involving Mom is disruptive to my routine, even the routine things I do for her every week. I’m not even really making sense right now. But I have had these kinds of rambling thoughts for a couple of days.

So very much of my life is good. So many people experience suffering beyond anything I can imagine. What makes me think being a caregiver to a Mom with Alzheimer’s is so damn taxing? Or not even what makes me think that, but what makes it so? I have to function, and I am functioning. I can do my job. I can keep my house and finances (somewhat) in order. I can be attentive to my husband. Maintain friendships. I have fit this caregiving in with all of that. So all is well. Right?

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