I realized today that I had not posted anything in a while, and it set me to wondering why. I had a disconcerting revelation. I started my blog as a way to work through the emotional stress and distress of caring for my mom, and it has been a great mechanism for that purpose. So why haven’t I felt the need to blog, to release those emotions? What has changed? The answer is: nothing.
There is nothing really new or extraordinary, either in her health or in the level of stress I feel. Mama J continues on a steady and slow decline. The slightest exertion leaves her trying to catch her breath. We had to leave Mass Sunday evening because she wasn’t feeling well; we had tried to do too much during the day. Mama J has stopped wearing regular undies, replaced by absorbent adult ones, just in case. My brothers and I signed papers authorizing her cremation the other day, and the funeral of a colleague’s mother and the death of another friend’s mother, both from the same illness–not the COPD that Mama J has, but a lung illness all the same–left me heartsore and drained. I struggle to balance all the parts of my world: marriage, exercise, healthy eating, work, friendships, church, Mama J’s care.
Notice anything there? That’s a lot, you might say. But here’s the thing, the revelation I had: this is our “normal” life. I have stopped seeing it, treating it, as anything out of the ordinary. It has become our normal.
What does that mean? I broached the subject with B last evening. Does this mean that we are no longer affected, that we have adjusted and are taking everything in stride? Or does it mean that we constantly operate in a state of heightened anxiety, in crisis mode? He suggests that it is the latter, that we have just elevated our level of stress to the corresponding decline.
I’m not complaining, not by any means. I’m grateful to have had this experience to be of service to Mama J. I still have my mom, while the two friends I mentioned above, and many others, do not. But I miss the easiness of my life before November, our “old normal.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.
Next post: “It’s personal.” Or is it?