I feel like I’m juggling an unlimited set of balls in the air right now. I’m in New Jersey, helping care for my mom and support my dad, while working remotely during the end of our fiscal year (for fundraisers of nonprofits, you get me here), and missing my husband, kids, and cats. Oh, and I did I mention that when the home health aide supervisor came over to bring us the paperwork, she had Covid but didn’t know it yet. Luckily she had on a mask and we’re vaxxed, but we had to get tested and wait for our results so we couldn’t leave the house. At 6am, this morning I received two emails that both read “negative” and I leaped out of bed to tell my dad the good news.
How do you factor in self care when caring for others? Thank goodness, I am good at knowing what I need to keep myself strong when others depend on me. I googled to see where the closest paint your own pottery place is here. There is one in my parent’s town so I may do that for a break one day. And I don’t have my beading with me – another de-stressor – so I will probably run over to JoAnns to get some crafty thing to do while I’m here. Maybe I’ll try Crochet? It’s hard because I am always looking for left-handed tutorials.
Mom has declined visitors and phone calls right now. Many people have been pushing to speak with her, but she keeps telling me no. As someone who never lets on that she’s in pain, I think she’s in pain and she’s very uncomfortable. Her insides are all twisted, and she has declined most food and drink. She’s “snapped out of it” before but I don’t know if that will happen this time. Everyone keeps asking me for reassurance so I have been not talking on the phone to anyone either because I just can’t be the optimist they want me to be. I can’t stand seeing her suffer like this. I’m turning off comments because this post is a place for me to express myself.
I was just talking to a member of the clergy who is a spiritual advisor for my mom (and me). She told me I’m so incredibly strong and I’m there for everyone. I told her I wish I could be doing more for my job right now – she said, “What, are you doing the work of 7 people now instead of 10?” I guess I’m not used to doing the work of one person. I’m used to being overworked and under appreciated. Here, in this job, I have one job and feel appreciated enough.
I’m grateful that Ted is holding down the fort back home. We have the kids this week, so he’s doing the dad thing and also taking care of our cats – Nermal and our newest addition, Louie! Plus there’s the whole new house, unpacking thing.
Oh, and I did I mention we had to cancel our wedding #2? There was one email that came to us that had some reference to the invited guest being disappointed because she had “so been looking forward to it” and for some reason, I felt so much anger towards this women I don’t even know. Gee, I’m sorry I ruined your plans. I’m sure she meant absolutely no harm but one’s anger comes out in mysterious ways. She doesn’t subscribe to this blog so don’t worry – it’s not you!
As a people pleaser, I’m used to trying to make everyone happy. Now, I’m focused on my folks, and with all do respect to the world at large, I can’t make everyone happy, so now I focus on my folks and leave it at that. Mom doesn’t want to talk to anyone and I need to respect that. I am sure there are people on the receiving end who are upset or pissed or wonder why they aren’t the exception. I even had to turn down my cousin and his daughter for a call because she said, “no.” So please don’t take it personally – it isn’t personal – it’s just her choice and I have to respect her wishes. My dad is very run down and its taking its toll on him too.
What help could we use?
- Understand if we don’t respond to calls or texts right away. It’s hard. Plus I’m working so I am trying to juggle caring for them and working. It is not personal.
- We’re happy to accept food but not visitors (covid). Making meals is a nuisance as I am not a fan of cooking and dad is tired. But do not feel you need to do this.
- Dad is slowly making phone calls so if you leave a message, he will get back to you.
- We are listening to the experts – the surgeons, oncologists, nurses, and other doctors – so while we appreciate your ideas, please understand that one person ultimately makes the decisions about her body – that is mom – and I’m not going to push her to do anything.
It’s so wonderful to know how loved my mom is. I am so grateful that at the end of her life, she is surrounded by so many wonderful people who love her so much. She is in ok spirits and told me she has no regrets, and has had a great life. She is so comforted by the fact that I’m married to such a wonderful man, that we have a new (very old) house, and two rambunctious ‘tweens that we adore. And Ken has a solid marriage and life with Masha, all good. We have plans for my dad, and he will be well taken care of in life.
So at this point my greatest wish is for mom to be comfortable. I’ll deal with my thoughts on Ovarian Cancer at a later date but let me tell you – fundraising for a hospital is more important to me than ever. Thanks for reading and for your prayers.