Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wherever You Go, There You Are

I just read last year's December blogs to see where my head was. Being this is the second year of GaGa having cancer, I wanted to know where I was and how I was feeling. We had just finished the addition of the keeping room which went very smoothly but Mary was not doing well and life was overwhelming. In October 2010, she was still living independently in her apartment but really needed help and we had to fight with her to get her the help. And then she fell, was hospitalized and needed better pain management. She ended up going into hospice care and into the nursing home by the end of the year.

This December, she has become less mobile, struggling to stand up, is sleeping more and more, and eating less and it really does seem like we are approaching the end. Now that can mean months or weeks. I never thought that I would be saying every few weeks for for the entire last year, that she is slightly worse. How many variations of slightly worse are there? But at some point her body will shut down because it is not getting the nutrients it needs.

I brought something to her on Monday, and watched as she struggled with her small milk carton. It was like watching a toddler handling it but in slower motion. She quietly asked me if there was room in my house for her? Last week in more of an anxious fit, she asked me to come pick her up and take her out of the jail. Both times I had to reassure her that she was where she needed to be. In the hours and days after, it eats at me, am I supposed to take care of her in my house? And then my logical, rational mind kicks in and says that it is not possible for me or our family to do this. And more importantly, she still would not be escaping her reality. She would still be in pain, still be scared and still be dying.

I am barely keeping up with life with my immediate family as it is. Laundry stays in piles whether is is clean or dirty. I have papers for days around my desktop and bills to be paid. I have more Christmas shopping to be done and wrapping to occur. This is not even accounting for taking care of and feeding the children and getting them to school. And what about planning for a Christmas meal? My own parents' lives are completely focused on my dad's dialysis five times a day now and his precarious health.

It took me a little while to realize that her asking me this twice in a week was eating at me. Rationally I know the answer. But it tugs at me, not to do what she is asking. I have not been very good at taking care of myself without taking others into account. That is called codependence. I learned a lot about this around two years ago. I never had a strong sense of self but all of that has been changing. Yesterday, once again GaGa mentioned something about living with us and I told her that she would not be able to escape the situation that she was in. Her illness will follow her wherever she goes. She replies, "You're right." There's that old saying, wherever you go, there you are.

I wish we didn't have to keep revisiting this lesson over and over again.

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