Monday, September 27, 2010

A learning experience is one of those things that says, “You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that"*

I can't believe I've left this post up for this long, since, in my head, I've written about thirty six posts since last week. Unfortunately for my blog (or perhaps fortunately, since my brain isn't exactly in tip top condition lately), my computer doesn't travel as well as I would like it to, and there's no internet connection at the rehab. I don't know what their problem is, since, if I were using their facilities, I would definitely need the distraction.

Anyways, my grandmother is doing very well, thank you: She's got a discharge date set for this Thursday, and her improvements have been quite great and quite quick. She still needs to use the walker, which is absolutely going to be a point of contention once she's home and isn't on her best "let me out of here/ see what a good patient I am!" behavior, but we'll deal with that when we get to it. In the meantime, she's doing really well. (Thankfully.)

There's been a lot of other family drama - some of which I can't talk about here and some of which I just don't have the energy to go into right now - but I have been trying to keep what energy I do have focused on caring for my grandmother and putting it where it can do the most good.

As for me, I'm ... I don't even know how I am. Up in the air, like one of those little juggling balls, going round and round and up and down under somebody else's control. During the (not continuous, grand total of) forty-five minutes I slept the other night, I had a very vivid dream of myself, sitting in my uncle's car in the passenger seat. We were making the twenty minute trip we make four times a day (twice up, twice back, because he refuses to eat any place but home, and don't even get me started on that), traveling the now-familiar route. In the dream, I seemed normal and everything was fine, until suddenly, I just reached over and pulled the door handle - very calmly - and - like someone escaping a kidnapping - ninja-rolled my way out of the car. I landed on my feet and just walked away.

It wasn't until I felt the gigantic surge of relief in the dream that I realized just how hard this whole situation has been. How out of my own control I feel my life has gotten - not just right this minute, but in the grand scheme of things.

And there are, obviously, things in my life that I can do nothing about - my grandmother's stroke, my own illnesses, having to move, losing people I love - Those things are going to be there, are going to happen, no matter how hard I try to will them away, no matter how much I don't want them to be. I can't control those things. But I kind of just realized that I'm still trying to control them anyways... and that I'm fighting a losing battle.

Which doesn't mean I'm giving up - far from it. In fact, it just means that I have to do a better job of figuring out what I am in control of, and what I do have power over, so I can do a better job of focusing on those things.

I know: this seems like the simplest thing ever, and it also seems like something I should have gotten into my thick skull long before now, but it really is an ongoing thing - it isn't as if I haven't been working on this for the past fifteen years, it's more like I am re-realizing that I am focusing my energies in the wrong direction, and that I need to pay more attention to fixing that.

The more I worry about how nobody else is coming to visit Grandmother - I am one of seventeen grandchildren, who came from 9 children originally - the more upset I get. (Yes, the 17 and 9 are spread out across the country, but there are at least eight of us within easily driven distance, and at least three more of her kids. Total who've shown up? Three - each visiting once, for a relatively short period of time.) But getting mad about it, or feeling resentful that they're not going out of their way to get here does me no good. It does her no good. All I have to do is show up, get the word out, keep doing what I can do, and let the rest go. If other people make (what I see as) poor choices, then it's their loss. It's their decision, and there's nothing I can do to make them realize that they are missing out. I don't understand it, but I don't have to, either. I just have to be there for her, and hope that it is enough.

The more I fret and churn over a vicious fight between my two sisters, the less helpful I am to anybody - On a recent day, I managed to "ruin" both of their days by bringing up the other one, and ended every conversation in tears. It's not helping them, and it certainly isn't helping me. I won't stop trying to help them figure out how to move on (I don't think I can: it would hurt too much), but I have to realize that it isn't in my control. I can only do what I think needs to be done, say what I think needs to be said, and then leave the rest up to them. If they're not ready to hear it - as is obvious by the fact that I always wind up hurting them and myself when I try to get my point across - then I can't do anything more but be here when they're ready for me.

I can chatter till the cows come home, because empty space in a conversation makes me a tad bit uncomfortable, but I'm never going to make my uncle say a single word he doesn't want to say. So I better learn to appreciate that there is such a thing as companionable silence, and figure out how to enjoy it.

Now doesn't all that sound so lovely and mature and easy?

Yeah: the writing of it always makes me sound like I've figured it all out, but in reality? I'm going bit by bit, trial by trial, day by day.

(Although I have really figured out how to like silence. Sometimes I write the best blog posts in my head when he and I are just sitting in the same space, being together, but not having to say anything - how'd you like this one?)

*Douglas Adams

1 comment:

Crazed Nitwit said...

Okay. I like this. It's just what I am learning to do as well.

Gentle hugs and prayers.