Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Mislaid and found
As I go through stuff, packing up, I am finding things from my fairly recent past that I had forgotten about. Not important stuff, but articles of clothing I had bought along the way, put down, or tucked away, then promptly forgot about. I say recent, as in acquired since my trip to Europe (so in the last 7 years), but not within the last 3 years when I have been working at a regular gig where I need dress clothes. So, from sometime in the first 4 years I was back. So, to me, that's either when I first returned / came to Sidney, or when I was caregiving mom, or when mom first went into residential care. There are 2-3 years in there that are a total blur, when I became more and more overwhelmed, and I started dropping things, as I had less and less capacity. Stopped reading, stopped exercising, stopped pursuing my interests, stopped blogging, stopped writing, and eventually stopped drawing... stopped living, in many ways, just coping day to day. This was mostly during the most intense caregiving period, when I had nothing left, so to speak. Yesterday I found some tops that I must have purchased before that time, recognizable, but never worn, perhaps picked up at some point when I was out shopping (just now it occurs to me that maybe some are from my 2010 trip to New York?). I really can't connect with them, I don't know if I ever wore them, but I recognize them as mine. A couple weeks ago though, my sister found a bag containing a pair of pants I purchased shortly after mom went into care that I have absolutely no memory of. Brand new, still with tags on. It's weird that I don't remember, as I have needed black dress pants ever since, completely wearing out the couple pairs I picked up along the way. It's quite significant to have no memory of these. It's like my life was an absolute blur at that time. I'd make occasional attempts to carve out a bit of personal time for myself, and do an errand, or do something just for myself, but it wouldn't last, or it wouldn't stick. I was just as likely to park the car at the side of the road and weep. I remember doing this between respite periods - once even on the way to help mom settle into a respite stay, and calling the respite facility because I was incapable of handling the full process that day - or in the months after mom went into care, so sad and so torn up about what I'd had to do. I was so broken up by that. It brings tears to my eyes and causes my throat to catch, even just thinking about that time. I was so lost, and felt so alone, and felt soooo bad! I felt for mom so much. I couldn't even articulate what I needed for myself that was lost, all I knew is that I felt disconnected, listless, overwhelmed, burdened, and alone... while digging deep for the energy to be the one who was upbeat, the one who was managing the situation, to be up for mom, to be positive, to be encouraging, to be compassionate, to listen, to try and understand, to find ways to give her comfort when she swayed in her feelings. When she was sad, when she was mad, when she was disappointed, when she was unhappy, I felt it all, and I felt so bad. I knew I shouldn't feel guilty, but I did. I knew there wasn't another way, but that didn't make me feel any better. I was still feeling good about what I was doing, but I knew it wasn't good enough for anyone one else, so I was feeling good and bad, confident and guilty, relieved but forlorn, so disappointed in myself that I found I had a breaking point, and that it meant I couldn't do more, I felt like I let everyone down, I felt like I let mom down, I couldn't do enough, there is now way to do enough... all the while trying to put all that aside, to just be present with mom, to be her spot of joy, to connect with her, to be that tie to her life. I did well, and I didn't, sometime failing at it all. Thinking I was holding it together, then she'd tell me she wanted to run away, she didn't want to be there, why couldn't she come home, oh she went through a period when she was so mad, so frustrated, and I know she felt so hopeless, so without resources to change anything, all she wanted was the freedom to choose, and she didn't have it. I loved her so much when she struggled like this, I felt for her, I wanted to make her feel better, but of course, I couldn't. We could always break through it, both of us, to share our love, to know we were still connected, but it truly broke me heart.
I feel so much sadness and grief as I write this. I know I have a lot of pain and sadness from this time that I haven't worked out, and know I need to. I've partly been afraid to dip into it, but it's also the only way through. I know mom forgives me, and that her love never faltered, but I'm still so broken up by the experience. I've gotta process it, in order to heal.
So, is it any wonder I have no recollection of shopping for a pair of pants, then putting the bag in my cupboard? Hardly.