Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Airport Respite

Wow, it was almost too good to be true… and so it was… At Victoria airport enjoying the bliss of the upper observation lounge. When I got here it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo quiet. Almost the only person here, and total silence. No music. Occasional announcements, but that’s ok. It must be sound proofed, because even the planes seem muted. For about 30 minutes it was like that, and I relaxed. Truly relaxed. It’s something I need. I need more of.

Then 2 women with 2 toddlers arrived. And the silence was shattered. I don’t resent them at all, they have as much of a right to be here as I do – and perhaps even more if they have airport business! I don’t even resent the kids screeching, cuz what else is a kid supposed to do?

But, oh, how I missed the quiet. And I felt a sudden stab of yearning for that silence.

Then a dozen more people. Maybe half that, but if feels ‘full’ in here. Again, no feelings of wishing they would go away (or not much) but just brings to mind how much I crave silence.

Just as I crave time alone.

I don’t know what to do without it.

30 years of living alone.

I misssss it.

______________

What I am doing is taking a mini-respite break. Mom has an evening worker with her tonight: they make her dinner, entertain her (great when they are readers, as tonight’s one is), give her a wash and settle her in for the evening. I am delighted she enjoys them so much. For the most part, these are different workers than the day girls – I’d like to say a different kind of worker – perhaps because they are booked through a private service (subcontracted by the health authority), so I think they are doing it for different reasons. Last night mom had a girl read her poetry. What bliss for her.

I say girls but, of course, they are women. And when there’s enough time to get to know them, really interesting women.

And mom blossoms.

She is a lot more social than she perhaps thought she was.

And they all adore her.

How lucky I am, to be caretaking for such a sweet mom as mine (ours).

___________

Getting noisier by the minute… but I am now in a zone. Liking it as much as if I’d wandered in here and found it like this: busy, alive, noisy – ah, there’s my little cocoon spot in the corner, all mine.

Perhaps best I experienced both extremes tonight, on my first night here, so I will happily accept it when it’s a busy spot – and will really appreciate it when it is quiet.

I think I may be able to find this place empty at times.

I look forward to that.

One of the most interesting challenges of this process for me is going out to relax. As in, there is a care worker in for mom, and I get a break. So… what do I do?

I have always been someone who really does relax at home. What regenerates me is unstructured time alone at home. Or wherever I am hanging my hat at the moment. I have always been like this. Figured it out a long, long time ago.

And while I can stay home when care workers come in – morning or evening – it’s probably more important to get out. I know that. But it can seem artificial sometimes.

Because there really isn’t a perfect place to go.

Mornings I have gone out for breakfast, often taking my laptop and writing to kill time.

To do chores is to, well, do chores. And going to stores doesn’t restore me.

I’ve made it a point to not use the time for household chores or doing things for mom during these times… but as much as I am totally used to being on my own and not even notice it, to get up and get dressed and go out just to be out has an odd awkwardness to it.

Especially at those times when I just want to curl up and sleep.

Sometimes I do. At home.

But I know out is good.

Early on, I had a couple of the careworkers tell me that I really needed to get out. I think they could read it on my face, sense my need to get away. I appreciate their encouragement. It really helped me in the early days.

Now with winter, and now that I am working, it really is easiest to just tuck into my room in the mornings, and either sleep in, or enjoy the radio, or reading, or dig into work.

And when my sister is here, staying home is more the norm than going out in the mornings.

Though I still do get out. I feel like I have a morning rhythm now – even though it’s a little of this and a little of that.

Evenings, well, less so, still getting that worked out. For a few nights when my sister was here, we’d go out for dinner, which was fun… but it gets expensive, and more than once I just found myself wanting to curl up and go to sleep after dinner – just not that easy to do sitting on a bar stool.

Last night, I stayed home. Took some snacks into my room, turned on my radio, chilled. It was very restful, and I was able to separate. But tonight I thought it made sense to go out.

So…. After planespotting for awhile, decided to come hang out here in the airport’s observation lounge. It was the best choice so far. Very comfortable (big leather armchairs), aboriginal art, view of the tarmac and departure lounges – and the taste of travel in the air.

It’s about as close as I get to travelling these days, so it feels good.

And I think I could relax here.

When I think of all the other options, it really is the best. The library is good, but not all the time. Restaurants are ok, but they cost money and you can’t really put your feet up (only metaphorically). A pub is good, but can’t have more than one drink and can get tired of them. Going out for coffee is fine, but you can only do so much of that, and it doesn’t work in Sidney in the evenings!!! (they roll up the sidewalks here by 8…) Have done my share of sleeping in the car. Or driving around crying at others. What a mixed bag. I’d like to be at the point where I am going for a swim, still looking forward to creating that.

But what do you do when you want to relax for an hour. And you can’t be at home? Not complaining, just observing and trying to work it out. Because it is important to be restored when all is said and done.

This is good. And they have a sweet $1 2-hour parking thing going on.

Stepping back, this is one of the things that surprised me most about being a caregiver: what one does to relax when one gets some time off.

I have tried without success to find a crash pad. My dream has been for someone with a spare bedroom, or a studio, or some separate space in their home (or a furnished place empty a few days a week) where I could hang out: crash, read, relax, sleep, watch tv – just like being at home. Well, sort of. But after a year, and a few expressions of interest, still nothing. Of course, I am looking for an angel who will lend that to me, versus paying for it. I won’t give up, but man on man, what a haul.

If you read this, and you have a spot like that, wherever you live, know that there is a caregiver (or 12) in your community who would kill to be able to make use of it. To donate space to a careworker has to be one of the greatest gifts someone can give.

Ok, enough yattering. This place has died down to about ½ the people and ½ the noise, and it’s ok.

________________

Just re-read all that. Interesting jumble of thoughts. But there you go.

There I go.

Great lounge, I was able to see the pilots – I can see pilots right now! – on a plane that pulled up to get 9 here. Kind of cool.

And this lounge just totally emptied out.

I am here totally alone.

Bliss has returned.

I create my own bliss.

But here is a gem.

1 comment:

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Happy New Year, Roberta!!!!!

Cheers,
Todd
Postcards from Hell's Kitchen