Well, it’s been a stressful day, you think–this care taking thing is not for the faint of heart. You have to give up your quality of life all in hopes of giving some of it to a loved one and instead you are regarded as a jailer. Every day you work at some kind of emotional distance and most days he wipes out your resolve with nothing more than a disapproving look. You give up expecting gratitude; you’re just grateful for days he doesn’t say something unkind about your cooking or something else you do wrong.
You wonder if he’d actually be happier in some joint. That seems doubtful yet he’d likely be more polite to them than you and if not, it wouldn’t matter much.
You know it will get worse. Already he’s incontinent at times. But it’s not that. You can wipe his ass. It will get harder and harder for him, both physically and emotionally, and you know, you just know, he’s going to say something really hateful eventually because after all you are the warden. You are, after all, the physical embodiment of everything he can no longer do. You feature you see actual envy (to the point he wishes he could change places with you–sometimes I’m afraid I even see that?) on his face when he sees you still have coordination and strength (your hands don’t shake as you even have to open jars and pretzel bags for him), you are free from oxygen equipment and canes and nobody has taken away your car.
There’s rarely anything but disapproval or disappointment on his face but perhaps he’s right. Maybe you are a disappointment.
But tomorrow is another miracle, according to Einstein, and you know he’s right. Einstein. You plan new starts: on your carnivore diet; on revision and marketing of your memoir; on revision on your fantasy novel. You plan a writing schedule because somehow, you know, that is the way back to sanity. Coffee, exercise, yoga, diet, writing time. Dream journal. You’ll put your foot down to get this much.
And of course, distance. You make another resolve to achieve it, to just help him regardless of how selfish and mean he can be at times. Because that’s what you do.
Make it through another day.
I’m rereading Anna Quindlen’s book about her mother and cancer. She gives up her job and comes back to take care of her, gets thrown in jail for murdering her (you don’t remember why they thought that). She doesn’t want to take care of her mother–in your case, you wanted to take care of your father–and even so there are similarities in how her character feels.
So tomorrow is day two on carnivore. Today you had a bit of beef brisket, a piece of cheese, a whole chicken breast, a couple shrimp, two raw oysters… one goal achieved.
Last night you dreamt of your mother; she was there. And she seemed comforting, yet somehow a bit peripheral still. You don’t remember the dialogue, just the feel of her. You know how you feel when certain people are around. Your mother annoyed you once, yet she was the one you leaned on, and rather than seeing a scene play out, you just had all those feelings she evoked when she was alive and that’s how you knew she was present–nobody else evoked those feelings. You did sort of see her, too. She was younger than when she died, her hair styled like Laura in the Dick Van Dyke Show.And she looks happy, like you’ve pleased her somehow. You felt comfort.
Now you hear the rain on your new metal roof, your head propped on pillows too stuffed. The wind whistles still, like it did before with the old roof. A miracle for sure.
I’m in Mom’s room.
Happy Wednesday, all. Make it a miracle. It is one, you know.