I try to tell myself that I am very lucky to have had 45 good years with my mother. That’s more than many people get. A lifetime more, in some cases. That I am lucky in so many ways, and have no right to complain about anything. It doesn’t really work.
I feel a weird dichotomy lately of bouncing, almost violently, back and forth between feelings. I feel in charge and capable one moment, then the black fear is rising in my throat and tears form in my eyes. I feel exasperated with the dozens of people I’ve been on the phone with or with whom I’ve exchanged emails about my Mom’s “case.” It’s a case now. The social worker has her as a “case.” I call people to talk about my Mom’s “case;” the insurance representative, her primary doctor, the floor nurse where she had been staying, so I can verify prescription information, etc. and etc., ad nauseum. Literally. I’ve been so nauseated a lot of the time that I’m not hungry. Or when I am, nothing tastes good or like what I want, but I don’t know what it is that I do want. Sometimes I break through the fog for a short time, and eat an enormous meal, as if my body is trying to make up for lost time. I know from a kind of weird distance that this is stress. I scream at people in traffic now and lay on the horn frequently. I’ve been short with some of my friends, who have been very understanding. I am not the mom of options anymore – I’m reading this story to you tonight or there’s no story, take it or leave it. I feel like I’m roaring at people to stay back when all I really want is for them to hold me very, very tightly so that the fracturing pieces of me don’t break apart, but I can’t do that. I just can’t. I don’t know why. And they might have to fight me to hold me anyway. And, perhaps sensing that, they largely leave me alone like a crazy fucking tiger pacing in its cage.
I got a couple of really good things done at my job, and then was notified about some really stupid mistakes I’d made on a couple of other jobs. All highs are countered with equal lows, swinging this way and that. I made time last night to actually paint my nails, which I so rarely do, and did such a crap job of it I had to take all the polish off this morning as it was all bubbly and streaked and shitty looking. There’s no time to go anywhere and do much of anything except get gas and drive around some more and keep the ball rolling. I fucking flipped out when I got an automated email from the cleveland library last night that my card is EXPIRING and I have to come in and get a new one. SINCE WHEN THE FUCK DOES YOUR FUCKING LIBRARY CARD “EXPIRE?” Just the thought of trying to figure out how to get to the library in the next two weeks, find some place nearby to park, and I NEVER seem to have any quarters, ugh, and walk over and wait in line to get a new card just seems like a massive effort for something that’s likely pretty simple.
I’m am glad for some things. I am. I’m trying. My son is growing again, and though he is eating like a Marine and costing me a ton in groceries, he’s healthy and happy and is FINALLY working on his letters at school, so hopefully he won’t be horribly behind this fall when K starts. I’m extremely glad I am not at my old job, where they would not only be largely intolerant of my situation with my mother and all the time I’ve had to spend on the phone, they probably would have doubled my work load because other people are going on vacation and I’d have to pick up the slack. Vacation. Ha. I am considering canceling the only trip I have planned this whole year – an annual road trip my son and I take up to WI to visit my sister and her family. It all just seems so daunting right now. I don’t even have the energy to drive for an hour, let alone two days’ straight of almost five hours each (with traffic and construction). And I’m so far over my monthly minutes and texts, which I have NEVER exceeded, ever, and I’ve had this same plan for like 15 years, that I may set some kind of record for precipitous jump in a monthly cell phone bill. Every time someone calls I just think OMG that’s going to cost me another $5, do I have to answer it? But I do, of course. Because it’s Mom, calling me four times a day now, or one of the providers, or my sister or aunt reporting that Mom sounded a little strange on the phone, but not too strange and what did I think and how is she doing and what should we do. Like this is a good time to go out of town?
Mom is reporting that she is lonely for the first time ever in her entire life. She has NEVER BEEN LONELY. She has always been very into being alone and having her personal space. She had her activities and interests but was largely a homebody, reading library books and checking out old movies to watch. She grocery shopped, she occasionally went to Silver Sneakers, not a ton of other stuff. WTF am I supposed to do about her being lonely? She is “not a joiner” as she has said hundreds of times. She refused to even go to group therapy the whole time she was in the hospital because she “doesn’t like stuff like that.” But now she’s lonely. I picture her starting a guilt calendar like my paternal grandmother used to keep, with entries that largely read like: “It rained today. Nobody came by,” or “Leg is still swollen. No groceries from Karl today.”
I am doing the best I can just to get through each day. I am so tired at the end of the day that I can barely get it together to play with my son. Exercise is almost non-existent. I took a bath last night and couldn’t even relax. I was going to get a new shower curtain liner as that one is getting old and gross. But I’m not shopping at Target right now and oy, I was going to stop at Kmart but I had to go pick up a prescription and go to the bank and I forgot. And I really should scrape out the grout, as it’s just not getting clean enough with the bleach spray. The whole fucking tub and tile needs replaced, and I still haven’t wiped those toothpaste flecks off the picture frames like I was going to do the other day. And oh in case you forgot for 5 minutes, you may never have a real conversation with Mom again, and then the fear in the throat and fighting for control. I almost want to pinch myself to distract myself. Calming and meditating things are having a complete boomerang effect right now, all I do is concentrate more on the things that are bothering me. I can’t seem to move through, and around is not an option.
I feel like Pigpen, stuck in a cloud that moves with me wherever I go.