It’s been a few weeks since I last posted a blog entry. I’ve been busy in schools and with poetry (and zombies), but deep down … I’ve been avoiding the page. Last year at this time, I was battered at the bottom of a dark hole and have been avoiding its ledge ever since.
This past April was an ‘anniversary’ of sorts. Last April (2011), after 15 years of care-giving for both parents, Dad was gone (about a year) and Mom was entering a facility better suited to her level of necessary care. Instead of feeling a sense of relief, the very next day I finally allowed myself to fall apart. It is hard work to be the ‘strong one’. It is unhealthy. No one has all the answers (or all the right questions) and no one should. Too many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Even with a supportive family and friends, most care decisions were mine to make and I never took that lightly. The weight was often staggering. Again … many of you know how that feels. And you know how much I loved both mother and father. I often joke and say, “I hope my kids are paying attention!” Actually, I hope they love me, but will not be faced with the same situations.
The other day I was asked to speak at a 3-day teacher’s conference in Florida in late June. I looked at my calendar, checked with my husband and said, “Yes!” This would not have been possible in the past many years. There would have been several phone calls to make, other schedules and lives to check and most importantly, Mom and Dad to consider. I would have probably still gotten to “Yes”, but the path would have been more like a maze and taken much longer. It was a revelation to me to be able to confirm within minutes.
Of course, this is not to say I wish them gone. Maybe it is more like letting go and allowing myself to breathe again. I’m still on the Lexapro the doctors prescribed last year (though now at half the lowest dose available) and understand extreme anxiety up-close and firsthand. I know how a panic attack feels and no, you can’t “just get over yourself”. You instead, puddle on the floor of Super Stop & Shop because you can’t find key lime juice.
The therapist I’ve been seeing says it is okay to fall apart, as long as you put yourself back together … differently. It took 53 years to get to that point last April, so I do not expect to finish rebuilding anytime soon. This is okay though, since I am enjoying the process along the way.
As always, be good to yourself-