Posts Tagged ‘Support group’

More Lessons From My Mom

January 29, 2012

I have mentioned in passing that my Mom has  macular degeneration and dementia ( I will not  give either one capital letters) and that it has been a very stressful situation for all of us.  My husband and I live with Mom  in the house where I grew up – childhood triggers all over the place.  The change has been gradual until the past few months, suddenly it seems to have speeded up and now it is hard for Mom to remember who I am.  I think I have come to terms with it, I feel so in the middle of it all that it is hard to be objective.  I also realized it is stirring up all  kinds of uncomfortable things as well, but I am now at a point where I can say “I’m not thrilled to deal with all this but let’s do it and clean it out”. It is uncomfortable, but then again, all the work with Ike Pono and Debye and her deep tissue massage have all been uncomfortable.  However, I am still here, I have survived all of it and it feels good to have things cleared out finally.  Yes, I know there is still a lot more to unearth, yet I am not as afraid to look it in the face as I was.

I have “kinda” known some things I learned growing up, it is only now that I see how it has operated in my adult life.  One of them is not asking for help – it is imposing on people.  I was talking to my older sister the other night and mentioned that – boy, does she know what I mean!  Her comment was”Ditch it girl!”.  I have had to ask for help because all of this has made me realize I am in over my head.  I haven’t felt I have a handle on what todo, where to go , etc.  I contacted the Alzheimer’s Association and they have given me a place to start.  I have been to a couple of support groups for caretakers, plan to go again next month and also to understand I have to take care of myself as well as Mom.  There are legal and financial ramifications, plus now I need to make sure there is someone with Mom all the time.  That way I can go out and do things for myself and my sanity, yet she isn’t left all alone when I do go.  My life has become narrower and narrower because of that.  But I do have to take care of myself and what’s left of my business – not sure how all of this will come together yet.

This not asking for help, doing it alone – we very seldom went to the doctor, Mom took care of us at home.  As I look back on my years of RA while we were moving around, I realize I was doing it on my own, not asking anyone for help except maybe the doc or the OT.  So I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it until I started volunteering at the Connecticut Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.  I met other people who understood, but a lot of what I did was  not about me but more about giving basic info on arthritis and what the Foundation offered.  Also, not talking about it because “other people really aren’t interested” as well as “you don’t tell other people your business” – now I know other people have dealt with the same thing or similar and they are there to support me.  I have gotten so much support from friends and business associates – last week I talked about it in my breakfast group and found myself breaking down.  I hadn’t planned on that happening, I just wanted to thank people for their support.  That just brought up another one – be stoic and don’t show emotion – we do have British ancestry so I come by the “stiff upper lip” honestly.

These days I have a very wobbly upper lip, I seem to be crying a lot.  Now I have always cried easily, I always thought it was a sign of weakness.  I cry when I am mad, when I am sad, when I am depressed, frustrated, fed up with pain – the list goes on and on.  Now when I talk about Mom and the things I am dealing with, I am a puddle so quickly ; I find when I am doing work with the massage, more puddles. I am wondering if that is just releasing and that stuffed down emotion and stuff that I didn’t feel qualified or eligible to express at the time.

We were also taught that when someone offers you something, you politely decline.  Never did understand that one.  I also found myself picking apart a compliment, as if I was worthy or deserving of a compliment.  It took a long time to be able to just say Thank You when someone told me how well I looked or how amazing something was that I had done.  I understand now that I am giving a gift in receiving a gift, whether it is a compliment or a physical object.  Sometimes it takes awhile for the message to finally get through and I know that I know it.

I know my parents did the best they could – they always made us feel loved and wanted, taught us integrity, honestly, gave us discipline and boundaries we could count on and they always did things as a family.  As I grew up and learned how other families operated – I just assumed everyone was like us – I began to appreciate and understand how blessed the three of us are.  It is a big job to raise a child and I knew I didn’t have the patience to do it – thank goodness I married a man who also didn’t want children.  My hat is off to people who do raise their children well.  So now I am a parent after all.

Thinking of a Title

January 8, 2012

It has been quite a rollercoaster lately, I am in waaaay over my head with a personal situation and I finally sought help from experts.  I could beat myself up and say I should have done it sooner, etc. – but I am not going to should all over myself or beat myself up.  It has helped to know others have knowledge and experience that can really help since I have no idea about it.  I have friends who have dealt with the same thing and have offered help and an ear to bend whenever I need it.  I am also going to go to a support group this coming week –  I have been ambivalent with RA support groups before but this is something that feels entirely different.  I will see what it is like and go from there.

As a result, I have drawn a blank on what to write about this week – a little surprising because I often have plenty to say.  One bright spot every week day is my Note From the Universe to encourage me, make me smile and give me great insights.  It also helps me put things into a better perspective.  This one came and made me laugh as well as help me put things in perspective:

Dwelling on the unimportant, stressing on the unintended, and freaking over the unknown, Lee, simply doesn’t work… and are a bit like lighting a match in a dark room to make sure no one accidentally sprinkled any gunpowder on your bicycle, kept under the stairs, near the back porch, in January.   Actually, some of that wasn’t really important, but hopefully it distracted from any stigma you may have attached to freaking over the unknown. 

You’re so adorable,
    The Universe

Why not just celebrate that you’re alive, Lee, every single day? After celebrating that you don’t need a bike to get email, in January.

This one came and just made me smile and feel so good!

What do blaring trumpets, cartwheeling angels, harping harpsichordists, and celestial hoedowns bring to mind?
The Pearly Gates? Welcome “Home” parties? Heaven gone wild?
Actually, Lee, they play for every earthly sunrise and all of the moments of each day and night that follow.

    The Universe

Phew… you were nearly accidentally side-kicked by an exuberant admirer returning from a hoedown, Lee, who simply adores you.

And then comes ones like this, that are so encouraging when I am rather down on myself for not accomplishing much.  It makes me realize how much I discount what I do, can do and have done.  In my mind I know that so often I am the most effective when I am just being me – God works through me so much better when I show up and get out of the way!  When I “know that I know” deep in my heart that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do, that I don’t have to be famous or wealthy or have a lot of hoopla to live my purpose, then I can cease and desist.  I feel I am in the process now, but old habits die hard.  Thank you ego for your concern and protection, I choose the positive.

If you were able to look back at your most brilliant successes, stunning comebacks, amazing catches, and smokin’ ideas, Lee, and you were to find that virtually all of them seemed to materialize out of thin air, when you least expected them, and that they had exceeded even your greatest expectations at the time, how excited would you be about the new year and whatever else I’ve got up my sleeve? 

Hubba, hubba – 
    The Universe

If I’ve ever helped you before, Lee, don’t you think I can do it again… and again… and again… ad infinitum? Actually, it ought to be even easier next time, with your new saunter.

I know there is a gift in this situation but at the moment it isn’t necessarily clear to me – it may not be until it is all over and I have had a chance to absorb and process it all.  I know there are lessons I can learn and that too is very hard to see. ( NOTE TO SELF:  Ekhart Tolle talks about being in the moment, in the NOW – well, isn’t Mom a great  example of living in the moment?  Yes, it can be frustrating but it also is an advantage because she doesn’t remember my impatient, bitchy moments.)  I have too much emotion in the situation and the person, so it is harder to detach, take out the emotion and be more objective.  I have learned I take on others emotions and that gets me into trouble – another habit of a lifetime to continue working on.  I have not had a massage for 2 weeks and I really miss it, I hope to go this coming week because it has been a way to clear out a lot of old stuck emotions and help me see things in a more objective way. Plus Debye and Monty are a big cheering section for me as well as helping me understand things better.  I have spent so much of my life “doing it on my own” – it’s part of my upbringing and then I carried it through my adult life.  I dealt with RA mostly by myself because I didn’t really have anyone I could talk to about it – seeing the doc and other patients was only once a month or so.  My husband traveled and I was alone a lot – it made me more independent – and the women my age either had kids or a job or both.  I had neither, plus they didn’t really understand  having a husband who traveled a lot.  I have often felt I march to a different drummer.

Hmmm, for having drawn a blank I have managed to fill the page.  Isn’t that often the way!  I just start and never know what will come or where it will arrive.


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