Once you have truly landed in it, whether you were the person who said, “I am sure we can make it through, the water won’t flood the engine” (I’m looking at you Linda!), or the person who drove, both are in the drink now.
I promised myself when I returned to North America, to Canada that I would not fall into the trap of obsessing over ‘who did’ or ‘who said’ or ‘not my fault.’ I mean, we are the country which held two inquiries, over multiple years and disbanded organizations for (take your pick): blood bank failures in buying CDC condemned plasma, an elite unit going out of control in Somalia, or the bloody helicopters. Canada’s military helicopters have been bought (not yet delivered) by THREE different Prime Ministers, which are then investigated by the next Prime Minister, the helicopter order cancelled, a new tender offer, the company that wins is…..the same one as before. Now 20 years later, still no helicopters for the military but lots of finger pointing (and three orders paid out). That is what Canada is good at, bringing everything to an absolute halt while it is determined, “Who can be blamed.”
I failed my promise and have reduced myself to 'reaction'.
We are in a ditch, a dark road, the sun is going down, we only have each other and instead of coming together as the only support, we are busy playing, “you told me….”, “Well you said…..”
Whether you are the person who is ill, or whether you are the caregiver, either way, it is a long dark road. And, I think, too often, each side envies what they see as the clarity on the other side. I know I do. ‘If only I was healthy and a caregiver….’ Yeah, because I would have to keep up with the progression of the disease on someone I love whether I was ready or not. I would have to deal with their grief, their loss, their lashing out, and look beyond it to see the fear inside them.
The times we need to cling the most to each other, these are the times when we feel alone. And nothing like a night which will not end in front of you for making a person feel alone.
It hurts when people seem so able to be there to emotionally support Linda and so unable to 'get' where I am. Yet it is only natural that people would be able to identify with someone who has or is experiencing loss. Much, much harder to identify, or know what to do, when someone has an experience totally outside us. Bad Cripple has not one but two significant bed sores, dead flesh, which will cost huge amounts and will keep him immobile until Xmas at the earliest. He needs support: emotional, financial, practical. And it is my own helplessness to help him that silences me.
I may end up knowing that experience, a bed sore, but I will never know the emotional, financial and other pressures of being a partner and caregiver longterm. Never. Nor can Linda understand inside the skin, of what makes up my day, or week. If only I could hear the concern she voices when she tells me to ‘drink up’ because she is reminded of some time when dehydration made me so, so ill. If only she could slow down enough to realize what unloading worries does to a person who had moderate dementia and short term memory. Does she know how much I care about her? Does she know how trying to create ANY routine for us to live in is like running laps, endlessly: a grit the teeth and focus or fall down trying effort? And that it always gets harder?
I can hold you, but I can’t stop thinking about the car stuck in the dark road, my body stuck in the dark road. Perhaps in the days she makes the routine easy, without thought, warm and caring are the days she works twice as hard, doing it all and absorbing it all. Perhaps we are both trying so hard to be ‘that’ person for each other so that when it fails, I feel I fail Linda and I fail myself.
12 minutes ago