A series of unfathomable events has left me feeling that I’m living hell on earth. Beginning with the death of my most precious pup on April 26th, 2018. This is the little girl I rescued from a cage, the little girl I put my arms around every night and whispered my most secret, secrets to. Begging her to stay with me forever, I needed her to live; she was my reason for getting up every day. Depression has a way of coloring the world with a heavy, heavy darkness.
But words and wishes are no match for mortality. Just three days later, my loving brother died from a brain tumor followed by my dad, who died on November 24th, 2018. I miss my dog and my brother endlessly. My dad, on the other hand, was only suffering and causing suffering to those of us who tried to ease his pain and provide him with care, despite his horrid behavior. A few weeks before he died, he physically assaulted me, which is just a snapshot into the history of abuse he inflicted upon my brother, my mom and me throughout our lives.
I had some hope after my dad died, that I might be able to show my mom a life of freedom from fear, a life with reason for easy laughter and joy. Dementia, however, has stolen that possibility. She is now just a breathing shell of what she used to be, and I feel that I am also becoming a shell of what I used to be. When I am not caring for her, I am recovering from caring for her. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic migraine and daily headache, all on top of mental health issues. My energy, motivation and ability to engage in activities that bring me joy are hard to find.
Still, I remain a hopeful, kind, giving and loving person. I love and am grateful for my husband, my children, my animals and the few friends who have stuck around, especially my friend and co-caregiver for my mom. Apparently a depressed, disabled, caregiver isn’t considered ‘friend’ material by most. Their loss. You see, they are missing out on one of the few people in this world who is real and would be there for them in a heartbeat. I may not be able to meet them for dinner, or go to a concert, or even share a quick phone chat, but I will be there when no one else is… all I ask is that they do the same for me, an impossible task for many, but an avenue for learning who is real, who is worth my precious energy. I know my worth, and it is not dependent on who is (or isn’t) standing next to me.
I have not had time to grieve any of my losses. Right now, it is time to care for my fragile, confused and frightened mother. Then it will be my time. Time for grieving, time for finding myself again, time for me and the family I created. All of these challenges that I have faced have knocked me down, more times than I can count, and left lasting scars. But I am strong and I will get back up. My light may be dim for the time being, but it’s still burning and hope tells me that brighter days are coming. Let the sun shine in. I’m ready.
(Image from Pinterest)