Ever have one of those days that you think are fine, getting stuff accomplished, arriving on time to appointments, remembering to brush hair etc. and then something totally sets you off, so much so that you are in awe (or shock) of how much rage you feel?
This is me now, the day was beautiful, a work meeting, jobs done fast, snow was melting and then I went to visit my dad at his nursing home because I finally had a few hours open. Lately, I have been having the best visits with him. He has advanced dementia, his gibberish which is usually no more than two words stringed together was finally making sense to me, like I figured out the magic code that makes what he's trying to say understandable. It's a connection with him that I haven't felt in maybe 6 years. It's partly because he is not on anti-psychotics anymore (he used to be aggressive) and I've been playing him music that really seems to help him AND maybe because I had an "ah-ha!" moment with understanding what he meant. He still doesn't know who I am but knows he loves me :).
So back to today, I happily went to visit him, prepared to play him music and brought a book to read if he was sleeping, soft cookies in case he was active, I take every chance I get to get some food in him. I used to dread seeing him, always cried at some point in the visit, the locked ward is a safer place for him but terribly sad to see. You can't help but feel the sad energy coming off of others visiting their loved ones, everyone at different points of acceptance that this is their loved one's new personality/life. Grieving the loss of their mom or husband as they knew them. Dementia is a horrible thing. He was sleeping, I kissed him hello and went to get a CD to play for him, his cassette/cd player was gone! I looked through all his cupboards and then went to the nurse's station to see if they had it. That is when the rage started building...I asked one nurse, she asked a program co-ordinator who said it belonged to palliative care, I corrected her and told her it was mine. She went to their storage closet brought me another one, I told her it wasn't mine, she said it would take a while to locate it (as in, not today) She agreed I could use this one in the meantime....I was mad. I went to set it up, it is completely broken...no cassette, cd or radio part working on it. I did a "Karen" as my daughter calls it, and went to the reception desk downstairs to ask if I could look for it in their storage closet in the community room because I knew this would be faster. Apparently, there is no such closet and she offered to send an email to the admin about it and they would look at the tapes to see who took it......my belief that they'd actually watch over a weeks worth of footage for me was non- existent, who has time for that? Especially in an understaffed nursing home.
I went back upstairs, my dad was sleeping still. I wondered why I felt so angry about this, like slamming doors and marching down to the reception mad. When I had the thought that this (playing music) was finally something I had done right for him and now it was gone. The flood gates opened. I cried. The sadness and angry thoughts just flooded out into my consciousness.
Finally, after not visiting enough, not being strong enough to put my own emotions aside for my dad's care, being so freaking self-centred when it came to my sadness about his dementia, feeling guilty about making everything about myself, I had done something good for him and I was pissed that it was gone. Yup, I'm really good at beating the hell out of myself.
|My sweet dad who I would do this all over again for, in a second.|
And friends......Woah, I have lost friends because of this adventure with ageing parents. One I lost because she told me she couldn't handle being needed at one point so I called another friend when my mom was on her death bed and then she proceeded to tell me how hurt she was that I hadn't told her my mom was about to die, so I tried to include her MORE in my personal life, then she told me I was too negative and that everything was about me. FUCK, I was grieving and in a depression and you are making me feel guilty about that? How freaking self-centered of me. She just didn't answer texts and invitations for atleast a year, when I finally broke down and asked her what was going on, that was the answer, I'm negative and self centered. I already felt shitty about myself and absorbed this opinion of me like a sponge. We had been friends for about 16 years. Still working on repairs.
The other lost friend had been my best friend since I was 6 years old, she was the one who called the police to check on me when I had attempted suicide so many many years ago. She had dropped everything to help me move my parents into a home while my brother (who lives 8 hours away) all but told me I was satan for doing this to my parents. She drove 4 hours to me every weekend for a month to help me pack up and move my parents house, she stayed with me overnight for 5 days while my mom died. She asked to borrow an insanely huge amount of money during all this, I said no, she begged and made promises, I thought she was the only "old family" I had left, she told me I was her "last resort"
Everyone else, including my dad wanted to disown me back then. I felt like I had lost everything that had ever meant anything to me in my past. I lent her the money.....it's what you do for friends in need and besides she promised to pay it back when things came through for her. Alas things never came through...and as she spent money on other things I got more and more resentful and suspicious that for 6 years she had been avoiding the big elephant in the room of all the money she owed me, especially since the kids were now going into college years and I really did need the money. Our friendship ended because she wouldn't even send me ten dollars a week to pay me back knowing it would never get paid off completely but I was ok with that. She told me HER family came first. I doubted the very meaning of our friendship at that point and didn't see her for over three years...when we thought my dad was dying she popped back into my life....now I'm just confused. I miss our old friendship and closeness terribly but am now aware of the dynamics I didn't want to see before.
Wow, what a rant, lot's bottled up (all these thoughts were in my head, not out loud for people around me to have any idea what my mind was spinning through).
What set this all off. the feeling of being a lousy needy depressing friend, the fact that I have been so understanding and calm about my dad losing at the home his socks, shoes, pictures, books, electric razor, clothes, prescription glasses, his dentures and now his cassette player......and yes, his clothes and shoes did have his name on them. The feeling of never having done enough for anyone. I'm so tired and exhausted of beating myself up.
Not sure what I wanted to come of this post, letting off steam, clarifying out loud that I have tried really hard, acknowledging that I'd be lucky to find a friend like myself. Ah, tomorrow is another day as Scarlett said.
Do you have pent up emotions that surprise you when they all come flooding out unexpectedly?