It’s been a while, 7 months to be exact, since my last post. All I can say is that writing really helps me process “feelings”. So I guess, I thought that nothing was coming up for me; I thought I was “processing” all the new normals. Well….. it’s one thing to cognitively “accept” that things are going to change, (OK, get worse) and completely another to “feel” it.
I keep using quotation marks around “feelings” because I’m not quite sure about them, foreign would be a good word to describe them. My LO would say I had the emotions of a brick! She wasn’t far off the mark. After 31 plus years of sobriety, I can say I do have emotions/feelings AND I don’t always like that. It’s certainly easier being a “brick”; way less painful!
Every time my LO descends to a new normal, it’s a stab in the heart; it hurts and I’m sad. (and I cry) And I think, NO, Let’s be honest, I know that I tried to ignore it; pretend that I knew it was coming and was ready for her to get worse. It was little stuff anyway. It’s just that little stuff adds up and then it’s a big thing!
A few months ago, she couldn’t remember the code to unlock her phone. So I patiently wrote it down and showed her how to input it. The only problem was she couldn’t make sense of the numbers. It’s hard to comprehend someone not knowing the “number 3”, looking straight at it and not seeing it.
She is extremely happy when I go to see her (approx 4 x a week) and yet when I suggest we sit outside in the sun together after lunch ( her favorite activity, just her and I) she can’t sit still because she’s worrying she won’t be able to find her 2 best friends.(She’s forgotten how to look at her schedule and relies on her friends for the next activity.) At first I was a bit happy, Like being let out of class early! But as it became more consistent I couldn’t ignore the pain. ( believe me I tried).
I had already accepted the minimal conversation, (word finding is extremely hard). And yet it hurts that we can’t “talk” like before. Current events, sports, the weather…
I had already accepted that she could not remember people’s names but would recognize them. So when her best friend since Kindergarten came to visit, I knew she didn’t remember her name but she absolutely recognized her. She lit up with excitement!! And yet when a staff member told me we needed to make a flip book of pictures of people important to her, so we can put names to the faces. Because you see, she’s already asked twice “What’s my spouse’s name”? That hurt and made me sad.
I want to say that feelings are over-rated; I was happy not letting the pain in. (so I thought). I want to say that I don’t need to “process” or “feel” anything, but I would be lying to myself. I’ve learned that to fully experience life and love you have to feel….The feelings of happiness, love and joy are part of the “feelings” family. When I didn’t let the pain in I also didn’t really let love in either. I didn’t understand tears of joy. I know that now and I don’t want to go back to being a brick!
I will go through this pain and sadness (kicking, screaming and crying mind you), because I love her and I won’t abandon her.
Garth Brooks said it the best in a line from The Dance:
“I’m glad I didn’t know the way it would all end, the way it would all go. I could have missed the pain but I’d had to miss the Dance!”