Thursday, September 8, 2016

The feels

Permission to babble?

I'm all of emotions. I'm pregnant, so this isn't a big surprise, and yet I'm not usually overly tearful. I cry, maybe 2-3 times a year, if you don't count the times I cry from laughing too hard (which happens even more when I'm pregnant!). Tonight I have felt like crying. lots. I'm struggling. I've written about my mom's illness before - and the writing, it always helps. But still, the struggle continues. She's been sick for so long, and dying for years now. I've written more about my mom and this journey hereherehereherehere and here. I've been writing about this sickness and its effect on our family and in my life since January 2013. 2 years ago, almost to the day, I wrote about death and the tension as she heads there, but isn't there, quite yet. And yet, 2 years later not much has changed. I mean, I have changed. I'm a mom now. I'm in a new job, in a new house. I'm pregnant with a second child. But the situation remains eerily similar. It feels like this illness is like a rock in the stream - but in a terrible way. Everything rushes around it, it slowly erodes from the power of the water, but the erosion is slower than anyone expects; than anyone wants. There are some in my family that find the rock's continued existence comforting. They would rather my Mom be alive, even in shell form. And that opinion, that feeling, isn't wrong. There are those of us that want her to be free from this shell; which sounds lovely, but that means death. And that is not wrong to wish either. After all, neither feeling is dictating her life span. We can feel all we want, but that doesn't change the reality. 

Tonight is hard. My Dad is away on the island - a much-deserved break. Which means I will spend my weekly Thursday morning with just my Mom, without the buffer that my Dad is. Thankfully I was able to reach out to my friend (and homestay student) Xiao to come with me - and she quickly agreed to come. No hesitation. And that moved me. I was overwhelmed at the idea of time with my mom, then overwhelmed by how quickly Xiao would offer to help. As I cried on the couch to Paul and tried to work through my feelings, he said, "It's so hard to ask for help, isn't it". I didn't think that was my problem! I mean, I love receiving help. It's always better to have others do things, so I don't have to! It's why I hire cleaners for my house. But my dear husband was more right than I realized. It is hard to ask for help with my Mom. That's the issue. I think, because I know that there are people who like cleaning, it's not that hard to ask for help with cleaning. I find being around my Mom in this state so uncomfortable, so hard. I can't imagine that anyone else would want to help. So to ask, that seems like such a huge ask. It's hard to invite people into my personal trauma. Why would anyone say yes to that? And yet, immediately Xiao did. 

I texted my best friends. They are far (South Africa, France & New Westminster - that one isn't too far, haha) but they immediately all answered. They were gracious and supportive and loving. They were praying for me right away. The feels were there again, but this time, it was the best feeling. Of being honest with my pain and struggles, and being loved and accepted in that place. Not having to be polished or pulled together. Just loved and accepted in my pain and what feels like, in my shame. Because I hate that this is hard for me. I want to be someone who doesn't find it hard to love my sick mom. I want to be someone who enjoys time spent with her. We have hired amazing caregivers to be with my mom as companions and I am so glad we've found these women who enjoy their time with my mom and yet that makes me feel so guilty because I genuinely don't understand how they could. And then I feel terrible for thinking that. The contrast of their enjoyment and my lack of enjoyment is shameful to me. Paul is kind and encouraging when I talk about this with him, and I know that I'm feeling guilt, and not conviction. That it's not what I feel that is important, but how I actually act in love to my Mom. I visit her every week. I work to support my Dad and my sister and to love my Mom. I know those actions are what matters but the feelings are still there, and are still so confusing. Oh man - writing this out is so helpful but it feels so naked to just put it all out there. This disease of my Mom's affects so much more than just her! 

Then Avie wakes up screaming - it's midnight, she's been asleep since 7pm - I bound up the stairs like I'm not pregnant, to comfort her. She settled down immediately on my chest and falls asleep. As I sit there in her room with her sprawled on me, totally safe and loved and happy, I am filled with so many more feelings. Thankfulness. Love. The baby in my tummy kicks out at Avie - as Avie used to do to any babies I held when she was in my womb. Both my kids are safe and secure in that moment and I get to love them. Somehow this pushes back the fear and the shame. So many of my feelings about my Mom are wrapped up in her fear of parenting, in her fears as a woman. Of how I am as a Mom and a woman. I don't have her fears. Being a mom seems to come so much more naturally to me, and I know that is in part because of how she and my Dad parented me. In ways, she was never parented. Because of them, because of God, because of my community and my support systems, I can love my kids well. Inside of me and out. It's a lot easier to keep the inside baby safe, but I get to love them both well. And I'm thankful for that. So I will go to bed tonight emotional, in many ways. I will know that there are some really hard things that haven't changed, and some really wonderful things that have. 

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1 comment:

Mrs. R said...

Thank you for this beautiful and raw post. I truly do not know what your journey is like but just reading it I could empathize so much with your feelings knowing I too would struggle with the same. I love the last paragraph and how your tender moments where love is so easy with your daughter somehow feels like a whisper of Gods love to you, telling you your love and worth that are not tangled up in feelings. You are amazing and wonderful my friend!


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