Seems every time I write, or begin to write, I think about introducing a post by saying it’s been a crazy few months. And that’s where I stop. It’s not a very catchy way to get the reader’s attention and it doesn’t do justice to my lived experience. It hasn’t just been a crazy few months. It has been a tumultuous and life-changing and hard few months since I last posted.
I know that I keep promising to write up some tutorials on some of my summer projects that I have posted about on my Facebook page but in my mind, while those are important and necessary pieces, they are fluff and my heart has not felt fluffy. I promise they’ll be up by Spring. In the meantime, it would be disingenuous if I wrote something my heart wasn’t in and I love my self and my readers too much to be anything but true to me.
That being said, I made a decision this past month that was very agonizing, to say the least, and changed the path for me and Granny going forward.
After a long, drawn out battle with Eastern State Hospital to try and find a placement for Ricky that did not endanger him, I gave up. I petitioned and was granted termination of my guardianship for my uncle, Ricky, so that the state would be forced to step in and do the right thing. As per usual, this decision wasn’t made lightly and honestly, I felt backed into a corner. I won’t go into all the details but suffice it to say that the system is broken and the only way to get him the help and advocacy he needed was to remove myself.
This has led to a realization that there are many problems which my presence is not solving anymore. Sometimes we have to take a step back when we’re in the midst of the problem and reassess the situation. It has become increasingly apparent that there is no happy ending here. The goals I had in mind have been met and sustained as far as they can. From here on out, there is nowhere but down for everyone involved if we continue on this path.
There is a season for everything…
…and I can feel this season coming to an end. Granny had her 6 month checkup with her “memory doctor” and while she is physically doing better than the last checkup, her memory has declined. It was painful to watch her struggle with recalling simple phrases, draw a clock with the numbers clumped up to one side and tell the doctor the wrong month, season and year. It is also painful to feel the hardening of my heart when I have to explain to her, while she cries for the third time in a day, where her son is and why. I’ve memorized the best phrases to use that will exact the softest blow and the least questions. I feel the anger and resentment well up inside me like a ticking time bomb.
I’ve been wrestling for awhile with my own shortcomings as a caregiver. I’m sure anyone who has been in my shoes knows that internal struggle, the daily pep talk we have to give ourselves and reassurances that we silently recite like a mantra. You are doing your best. I’ve worked past the expectations from others or the need for a pat on the back. I’ve learned to silently go through each day without much complaint, after all I chose this for myself and I knew at the time that I was the best candidate for the job.
Suddenly, my best is not enough anymore and I’m finding that in trying to give my best to everyone, I’m really just dishing out a whole lot of below average. Now, don’t misinterpret me by thinking I feel like a failure. I understand the natural progression. I know that eventually the holds will fail and the dam will break. The hard part is systematically discerning which lands to flood to save the most people.
I feel the pressure. I feel the heaviness and the gravity of every decision I make and there is a lot to be grateful for in that. I FEEL. I feel hopeful, I feel important, responsible and purposeful. I FEEL in a situation that could’ve resulted in numbness and despondence.
This season has taught me so much about myself and as I begin to make preparations for the Winter ahead, I am proud. I painstakingly planted seeds that I have more than reaped the benefits of for myself and my family. Now it’s time to plow the garden under and wait for Spring to teach us how we can grow stronger.
I don’t know what is next and there is a certain freedom in that. I only hope that, whatever the next season brings, you’ll be there with me to watch it bloom.
Peace, Love and Cheesecake