Grief and Bipolar Disorder

Let me start this blog off by saying that I am not a health care professional, nor am I licensed in any form of mental health capacity. All I am is a person in pain, having lost a dear loved one, and who also happens to suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

So, in a sense, that makes me an expert of sorts. I say that in a lighthearted way, coming from a heart that is anything but light. Ever since Daddy died I have been running in circles, like a dog chasing it’s tail. Somehow, I am dealing with each necessary task: the funeral, the cremation, the memorial, filing for assistance for myself since Dad supported me in my disability, cleaning up all the evidence of his sickness and dying that were left here in the house. It feels like being in the center of a hurricane.

Knowing that I will soon be back in the raging storm, only this time I will be alone.

In my manic state right now, I cannot sleep, cannot rest. I either forget to eat, or I eat the wrong things in the wrong quantities. I baked a cake and cupcakes last night at 11:45, then ate 3 cupcakes before lying down. No wonder I did not sleep, right?

I keep getting up, in a half asleep stupor, thinking I have to check on him. Then I wake up sitting at my computer at 4 in the morning, all crooked and stuck like a pretzel. Once the other day I fell asleep on my face with my glasses on, and they had embedded themselves into my head. Not a nice way to awaken.

But the endless cleaning, and going from room to room carrying the strangest things, and the inability to breathe normally are also very disconcerting. I have the feeling of impending doom, the one I had for years in active addiction, the feeling that came back when Mom died in 2010, the feeling that follows me like a shadow. It keeps telling me that I am all alone now, that there is no one to love me, or hold me anymore.

It is a terrible, sad feeling, and my head knows it is not real. God loves me, and will NEVER forsake me. I am in a cloud of witnesses, all loving Jehovah, and He has tight hold of my hand. So-leave me alone, terrible darkness! Stay at bay, awful sadness!

Please God, help me have soundness of mind, help me to have a quiet heart, a hopeful spirit, and faith sure and strong!! I know that you hear me, in the name of Jesus.

I am loved, and I am safe. I will never walk alone!

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Brainstorming

I am feeling a bit more positive than I was in this morning’s post, Dad got up for a while around 2pm, I laid on the couch dozing on and off, keeping my eyes and ears on alert. He fell on Wednesday, big gash on his head, poor Pops.

It happened while his caregiver was here, she called me saying there has been an accident. I believe the first thing you should tell a loved one is that the patient is OK before you dump the accident stuff on them. It keeps from shaving a couple years off their lifespan, because, as a family member, your heart just falls out of your chest when you hear,

” Hello, Ms. Kiko? There has been a terrible accident…”

What is the first thing you think of? Yup, I thought so: That he is dead or maimed or otherwise terribly injured.

So, I had been dropping off a painting at the Art Gallery, so I raced the 10 miles to the hospital in rush hour traffic, all the while telling myself that, as a law abiding Christian, I should be setting a good example and pleasing God by obeying the speed limit. I really tried, and I do always try, but that is a difficult task when your Dad is lying helpless and afraid in an Emergency Room.

I hit the Hospital doors at a trot, had my ID already in hand to be checked in, and rushed down the hall to his bedside, ready to find him at death’s door.

Of course, the scene that greeted me was quite different!

“Hiya there! Where have you been?”, he laughs with a big smile.

He smiles his most charming at the cute little nurse who is taking his blood pressure.

“Are you Ok, Dad? I heard you had a bad fall!”

He looks at me quizically, “Did I?”

I could just pinch him, but he looks so little and frail in the big hospital bed, so I kiss him on the cheek instead. Now I can see the big gash on his scalp, and blood all over the pillow. Oh, my, I think, here we go again. I just cannot bear him spending any time in this hospital, this is the place where he fell twice in May, the place that caused him so much anguish mentally, the hospital that hastened his Alzheimer’s Disease and broke his spirit, and the place where I had to face the reality of my losing him. Imminent. On the Horizon.

I hate that hospital. I told Dad’s doctor that I am trying to sue them for what they had done to him, and the doctor brings me back to reality: I am going to do whatever is necessary to get your Dad better from this fall…

Now I feel like a real heel, like that wasn’t what I wanted too?

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs:

  I DO NOT WANT TO FEEL THIS!!!!

I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH MY FATHER DIE!!!

WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS FALL TO ME? TO SEE MY PARENTS, TO SEE THE PEOPLE I NEED, THE PEOPLE I LOVE, TO SEE THEM ALL LEAVING?

TO SEE THEM ALL DYING.

TO BE LEFT HERE all alone.

But, I did not say anything except , Ok. Thank You.

Now you understand a little more why I am so tired today, this month, this year.

Each day that goes by I feel a little more dead myself,

all tied up in my solitary cell, watching my life pass by.

I know deep inside that I want to do this, and I want to be with Daddy till the end. I just get so lonely at times. But I don’t mean to sound bitter. I am grateful for everyday I have. Just feeling a bit sorry for myself tonight. It will get better- I promise!

I will place my burdens on Jehovah tonight, He will hear my cries for help. I will pray in Jesus dear name, and Jehovah will breath new endurance into me.

His promises will all come true.Picture 731

Muncie Spumoni

We love our pets, don’t we? When you have no children, and you are trapped for 10 years in a house with elderly, sick and dying parents your pets come to have a whole new meaning to you. I always was loopy about them, and as time has gone on my family and I have raised passels of kitties, feral and tame, and a couple dozen dogs and pups have held my heart over the years.

Then there is Munson or Muncie Spumoni, also known as Little Big Ears as a kitten and then Spoops as he matured. He is a wonderment, and a more loving,intelligent kid there has never been.

Spoops in a drawer. 2008
Spoops in a drawer. 2008

Munson arrived here at the house as a teeny-weeny days-old kitten with his 2 sisters after being gently placed in our newspaper bin by his feral Mom cat, Teddy. Teddy was one of a large colony of feral cats who my Mom had been spaying, neutering and working on taming for the years after our moving to Florida in 1984. Back then there were no organizations taking an interest in wild cats, Mom did it out of love and a sense of duty to help these abandoned and discarded animals who were left here by snowbirds and vacationers when it was time to head back North. Our house backs up to a large 55 plus trailer park where most of the tenants only winter here. So the colony was about 20 cats in the early days.

Munson instantly has a special place in Mom’s life. With 2 huge ears the size of satellite dishes, he was a strikingly beautiful kitten with his brilliant white blaze, socks and belly on a black tabby background. He also bears a little “light” in the tip of his extraordinarily long tail, a white beacon that my brother Eric always called his “landing lights”. He was really stinkin’ cute! (and is.). His litter mates were little girls, Ebony: a psychotic coal-black cat with 1 white hair at her breast, and Tiggy: another hot mess of gleaming black with  a true psychotic streak. (Possible sign of inbreeding?) At any rate these two would like to bite you hard as let you pet them. (Ebony used to gag when Mum would run her fingernail along the edge of the flea comb- where was YouTube back then?) Then there was Gretchen, a dainty tiny cat like her mother who danced along like a ballerina, light as air on her tiptoes, with a tiny meow you could barely hear.

But Muncie and Mom were inseperable, and when Mom was fighting the cancer, he would lay right next to her thru $%#! and high water, letting her pour out her tears into his glowing fur. He would have the most loving look on his face, as if he were the size of an Siberian Tiger and could carry Mommy off into the forest, away from all the torment and pain. Munson. Dear Munson, and dear Mom. He spent those years as faithfully as any Lab you have ever heard about sleeping by their master’s bed. She would hold him in her arms and stare down into his face, saying,”muncie. Muncie.” and kissing him a thousand times on his white striped nose. One of the last things she asked me to do was to, “Take care of my Muncie for me…Please take care of Muncie for me.” Of course I promised. (Like she had to ask…Oh, Mom…)

Well, now Munson has come to the end of his life. His nutty sister Ebony died 2 weeks ago, and I’m sure it was typical kitty old age, where the kidneys just shut down and she stopped eating and drinking. She lingered about 5 days before sleeping herself away. All this was happening while Dad was in the Hospital, so I grieved for her,but not as much as I am for Muncie.

***********************************************************

Fast forward three days, I had to stop writing because I was crying too hard, and the grief exhausted me. Poor dear Muncie still lingers on the brink of the great beyond, and I have crumbled. I wanted to let him die here at home, i hate it when we put an pet down at the vets office-they are so frightened. But the stress of losing him by drips and drabs has cost me my sanity, having to hide his dying from Dad, who just goes to pieces over these events. So I have been disappearing every 5minutes to go hold Muncie, carrying him to all his favorite places in the yard and house. I can sound just like Mom when I try, and when I speak her love talk to him he looks up with his blinded eyes with such adoration.

I never fully appreciated how truly magical he is… until now. I knew he was special, and I loved him dearly; I stopped short of giving him my heart completely, out of fear of the pain that would surely come i  the future. Last night, however, I gave my heart to him completely, when at 3in the morning I awoke with him snugly settled in my arms, head resting on my chest. Somehow, as weak as he is, he climbed up the side of the bed, out of the basket of towels on the floor, into my warm embrace. I will never forget that act of devotion as long as I live. Oh my…

Today I just can not allow him to go on like he is, so frail he is barely breathing, dragging himself to the door so h can go lay on the cool cement where the garden hose drips, trying to quench the unquenchable thirst that death brings.  Somehow he had willed himself to Dad’s door, and in his dementia, Father let him outside a little while ago, and did not realize how sick the poor kid is. I just can’t let him die alone, although that is probably what his instincts tell him to do. No, the mother in me wants to hold him to the last.

Aren’t we humans a useless lot when it comes to the animals. Here I am, refusing to let him do what he wants to, even at the end of his faithful 18 years as our pet. And now trying to be humane after letting him linger for a week, for a reason I am not even sure he feels? Do I take him down there to the vets now, can I keep myself from collapsing if I let him die here?

Oh God, I wish I knew. The stress is crippling me, as is the grief.

I want to run so far away from all this pain, and leave Dad and all the animals here where they can’t hurt me anymore.

But that is not what Mommy’s do.

That is not who I am.

Jehovah made the animals instinctively wise, and He loves them even more than we do, because He created them. He gives them their gifts to be our companions, our comforters, our friends. It is my human failings that give me all this doubt, all this worry. Munson is not crying out in pain or sorrow. He showed me last night who the wiser one is. And he said goodbye already too. It is me who has to let him go…

I want to live again, with his memory to keep my heart warm.

Goodbye, Muncie Spumoni.

PS. I just cancelled the appointment to have him euthanized, I will let him pass here, with his sister and me and Dad, and the only home he has ever known. He is a great cat.

That Brave Girl

Artwork and Pictures 074
this is not the one i am entering. this is titled “Angry Daughter”.

The decision to enter my painting in an art show at a real art gallery was easy to make. I believe I am being motivated by fear, having learned while Pops was in hospital that I will basically be destitute after he dies or if he must be placed in a home. I had always hoped that I could make a living with my art, knew I could, really, but I never wanted to let anyone see it. It isn’t that I am ashamed, it is just so personal. That is my heart on the canvas, my veins torn open, my blood on the page.

I never wanted to sell out. to allow complete strangers to dissect my innermost thoughts, to critique my self expression. My life has been so full of can’ts:

You aren’t a boy, Susan. You can’t play ball like that.

You can’t just draw from your imagination- you must be trained properly.

You can’t go to art school, it is not realistic.

You are too sensitive, you can’t take everything to heart.

YES I CAN!!!!

The latest critic in my life is an elderly aunt, who believes she has my best interest at heart by terrifying me about my future. She wan’ts me to look into selling my antiques, selling my china, selling my whole sense of home and safety in preparation for the big nothingness that she keeps reminding me that looms ahead when Dad dies.

I try very hard to be smilingly pleasant on the phone with her, but it is the most negative words she can say. She totally does not understand my bipolar disorder or depression. I absolutely CAN NOT focus on what MIGHT happen. I will dwell on it, I will obsess about it, and if I am not careful, I will drink and drug over it. Her constant warnings of doom will be a self fulfilling prophecy for me.

Afterward
Afterward

I was on my own for many years without any material possessions, and those were some of the most meaningful years of my life. Meaningful in that I learned how to survive happily with nothing, that I appreciated every single meal, blanket, pot, pan, article of clothing, tree, water faucet, sunrise- and every single human being who crossed my path.

I was much younger, sure, but I learned how to SURVIVE. And I succeeded.

Jesus had no place to lay his head- he lived by faith. He lived free, and appreciated all His Father’s blessings. He did not fear not knowing where he would sleep, what he would eat, and the Bible counsels us to follow in his footsteps.Picture 012

I do not want to sell Mom’s china, and I won’t. If I have to eat dog food on it in the dark, then that is what I will do. I will use my considerable brain function to keep my head above the proverbial water, but not by selling the things I hold dear, or by giving into fear of what may or may not happen.blue luster ware, bavaria 257

virginia rose antique china
virginia rose antique china
Cleo 1-31-12 072
after I lost 70 pounds in 2010! (now I have to lose it again!!)

books 178 books 173

If something good can come out of my anger at her doubt in me, it is that I am taking a leap of faith and taking my painting to the Gallery.

And I might just take a binder on my writings to an editor while I am at it!

So thank you Auntie Doubtful for the motivation. I remember that I am still the brave girl who jumped on a freight train and rode across Arizona, hitchhiked through 6 states, dumpster dove for greasy Mcdonald’s burgers, and that they tasted like T-bones!

I am the brave girl who worked 27 jobs in 25 years, rigged for the crane building Missle Silos, worked with Belgians and Shires and Clydesdales and Andalusians, and groomed the Atlanta Police department’s horses, learned to decorate cakes and operate forklifts, did lawn maintenance and worked on the tip of an island in the Atlantic. I have befriended train tramps and illegal immigrants, and helped a 15 year old Mexican kid hide in a grain car to get to his uncle’s house, his only relative in this world! I have accepted gifts of food, and given some, accepted rides and given many, and I have loved and believed in the very best of my fellow man, and I also believe in myself.

I am the brave girl who survived rape ad beatings, being stabbed and shot at, falling in holes and having horses roll on me, having a riding lawnmower flip over on me, divorcing a dangerous man, jail, drug addiction, alcoholism, hepatitis C, and the death of my beloved Mom, and losing my sanity, and I am still standing, even if it is crooked.

I am that brave girl, and I am a survivor.100_1559100_1629

That Brave Girl!
That Brave Girl!

My Life’s Work

I have not been going out preaching, the God-given work I love. As one of Jehovah’s dedicated Witnesses, I have promised to tell my fellow man about “the good news from God”. I must help them learn to take in accurate knowledge from the Bible, to put faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, to repent from past mistakes. Then, when they are ready, I can be there when they are baptized and dedicated to serving Jehovah, right alongside the rest of us.

Many people who are opposed to Jehovah’s Witnessed don’t know why we go door to door, or out in the ministry as we call it. They wonder why we would do something so annoying as bothering people at their homes. There actually is a very good reason to do this, one that is designed to help even the people who don’t like us:

We do it out of Love. Love for Jehovah God, and love for our fellow man.

God’s inspired Word, The Bible, explains when it says, at the book of Matthew 22:37,38,

“He said to him:”You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment.”

( If I love God this way, then I will obey Him, to make him happy.) Then the Scriptures go on to say, in Matthew 22:39,

” The second, like it, is this: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”

( Here I believe that I must love my fellow man as my own brother, and so doing, I must do what ever I can to help him, to save his life. Because I love Jehovah, I will try to save even people who hate me, because God does not want anyone to be destroyed. So, just as I would throw my neighbor a life preserver if he were drowning-I will knock on his door and give him the life saving message( of God’s means of salvation from a dying world) that God has commanded me to give.)

This answers people who just think that J.W.’s are crazy to go door to door, that we are just there to aggravate them. We come to do a life saving work, out of love. And our door to door preaching was even commanded by Jesus, who gave us an example to follow. The Bible says, at Matthew 28:19,20,

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”

( If Jesus commanded me to go out and make disciples, then I must teach others to go out and do the same thing, and they will teach their students,etc., etc….)

And if someone I talk to still thinks I could just put a sign out, the Bible, God’s inspired Book of directions, describes the disciples of Jesus Christ doing this witnessing work centuries ago. In the Bible book of Acts, chapter 20, verse 20, we read,

“…while I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house. But I thoroughly bore witness both to Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.”

Also, this method of preaching is again mentioned in Acts 5:42, where the apostle Paul writes under inspiration,

” And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.”

Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses have other avenues of preaching available, for instance, a handicapped person like myself can write letters or call people locally. I have even found the courage to witness to my neighbor’s right here, on my own blog. All I know is that I love Jehovah, and I love you all out there, too.

It would be wonderful if I could meet you someday in Paradise, and find out that you came to know Jehovah after you read some lady’s blog. But even if I never know someone that I preach to, I do know that Jehovah’s will shall be done. That one day wars will cease, and wickedness will not be found anymore. Dead ones will rise from their graves and live again with their families, on an Earth that is no longer dying or polluted. Animals of all kinds will lose their fear of mankind and each other, and a child will be able to pet a lion and come to no harm. No one will ever have to feel pangs of hunger, of cry out of loneliness or fear, or pain.

Children won’t die of cancer anymore, neither will anyone die in war. Food will grow, water will be drinkable, love will flourish.

We will know what true happiness is, for the first time.

I hope we are there together. May you find peace, love and rest from your weary road, my neighbor…

after all: Jehovah loves us.White black bird 018Picture 213

A Poem Written for a Forgotten Reason…by S. T. Martin

Picture 059Ode to my Father who Alzheimer’s took: A filthy thief, a nasty crook.

A man much adored by I, obscured by madness, left to die.

I care for him in his disappearance-vivid, charismatic, brilliant, delirious.

He who counted the planets, could name all the stars,

Now his stare’s distant like he’s gazing at Mars.

Oh, my dear Father,who Alzheimer’s took: You dirty thief! You evil crook!

Why did you steal my dear old dad? Leave me lonely-going mad!

I care so deeply, lost so much, do I now feel your demon touch?

Sometimes I sit alone to think, thoughts evaporate before I blink!

A family’s legacy of madness owned, no one here now, all alone.

Will I forget to wipe my chin? Neglect to wash the clothes I’m in?

Or, perchance, will someone see: find me in darkness, care for me.

Lead us through dementia’s night, help to cure this cruel  blight!

Or are all our children due to bear their aging parents’ Alzheimer’s care?

 c.S.T. Martin, April 27, more self portraits 0542015

Inertia

Life in a  funeral parlor is very boring. Father sleeps all day now. He was always a napper, and absolutely loves to sleep. Perhaps it was an escape for him years ago, a way to avoid dealing with Mom or us kids.

A big part of his nappiness is sleep apnea, which wasn’t even heard of years ago. In the 1990’s Mom convinced him to see the doctor about his constant sleepiness, and he had a sleep study done. It was found that my Dad has one of the most severe cases of sleep apnea that the doctor had ever seen. It was incredible, the number of times he quits breathing in an hour. So finally we had an answer to why our father was always trying to “catch up” on sleep, making us tiptoe about the house each day when he was lying down. I coined the nickname “Sir Nap-a-lot” for him, which he did not find amusing, but we all thought was very funny and accurate.

Fast forward 50 years, and here if my Dad now with severe Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

From the research being done insomnia and lack of restorative sleep are key factors in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This is no surprise to me, having watched my Dad lie on the couch all hours of the day, waking more exhausted than before. Now his eyes glaze over twenty minutes after he gets out of bed, it’s all he can do to make it back to his room or over to the couch. It is especially bad after he eats, which has made me wonder about his blood sugar. He was prescribed one of those machines for people with Apnea, but he never, ever used it. He is totally non-compliant when it comes to stuff like that.

So, here I sit in this quiet house, dogs lying about on floor pillows and blankets, cats on beds,chairs and couches, and Dad laying wherever a space can be found-out like a light!

Do I nap?  Oh, I try. I tell myself I should try to live by Father’s schedule. so that I am not falling asleep when he is up and about. That doesn’t seem to make me sleep, though. I lay down and shut my eyes,but the mind races and the pain lies under my skin like an ever present organism, draining my life juices away. my nap time is spent turning this way, then that-stuffing pillows here, moving blankets there. Petting dogs, pushing cats off the bed, always listening for a movement in the next room.

cleopatra
cleopatra

IMG_20140709_003602

I lay sometimes on my new (used) big red couch, such a pretty piece, and a great napper, and now and then I drift away. Dreaming of yesterdays, when my body moved and I was loved. Dreaming of giant grasshoppers eating my zinnias. Falling asleep to the sound of my silent prayers, prayers for God to send me an angel. An angel to stand over me and keep the bad things away while I rest.

Kiko-San Majestic
Kiko-San Majestic

When I awaken, it is always time to perform a task, feed a father, a cat, a dog, a bird, a plant. Wipe a hand across blurry eyes, beg a brutalized body to creak to it’s sore feet. Teeter off, half bent over, to fry a sausage, crack an egg, sweep a mess, say a pleasant “good morning!”. He looks vacantly past me into the blazing day, sips old coffee and says, “I didn’t sleep at all. I’ll be going back to bed after breakfast. After lunch. After dinner. After snack. After everything, I will be going to bed.”

Ok. Me too.Picture 485

Dreaming Awake

Follow the bouncing Kiko! Boing! Boing…Boing!!! Boooinnng! Isn’t boing a funny word? I guess it is a made-up, sounds-like-what-it-means word. You can say it like a spring coming unsprung, or like a superball bouncing off walls, flying everywhere!

Both of those ways of saying it would be very appropriate here, for I am just the bare trunk of a shaky little tree, with my leaves flying all asunder. There is a current running through me that threatens to burst me open like a melon, splatting the walls with bright pink melon-y Kiko innards.

No, thank you for asking, I am not doing well. To look at me, you may think I have a bit of a wide eyed stare, but inside this head it feels like one of those bullet trains will suddenly shoot out of my forehead.( Cue bullet train rushing past soundtrack…)

I haven’t slept for about four consecutive nights, and for me, not sleeping means zero hours of shut-eye. A good night is when I can string together at least 2 two hour segments of lying still in a row. That is becoming a fast fading memory, so I hope this Manic cycle eases soon. The last time it was this bad I had to go to the ER, begging for relief. I think they were going to break out the restraints then, so that is not an option now with Dad in the shape he is.

No, I must keep my “stuff” together somehow. I ran out of Trazodone last night, I have not been taking care of my responsibility toward myself by checking my medicine bottle levels. If you are someone new to taking Anti-depressant or anti-psychotics then let me suggest that you NEVER let yourself run out of meds. I have been under psychiatric supervision for 13 years now, and it has taken me about 10 of those years to take responsibility for my own medicine. It is my job to make sure I don’t endanger myself or those around me, so it is a life saving job for me. My life is in my hands, so running out of Trazodone was “a very bad thing, Kiko!”

I sleep walked around the house all night last night, found myself in the kitchen, in the den, in the hallway, sitting in a chair, leaning against the wall and finally laying on the bedroom floor. I don’t think I went outside, or ate anything- didn’t find any evidence. I fell asleep with my head in a bowl of chocolate ice cream once- when I woke up I thought I had been bludgeoned in my bed- the bowl was stuck to the side of my head like some gross swelling, and the dried ice cream on the sheets and pillows was exactly the rust brown shade of dried blood! Quit laughing! I’m serious!!

Anyway, that as because I was blind drunk, not because I was out of meds.

so, I made myself go get my meds at 7 this morning, in my pajamas. They aren’t really pajamas, they are a mildew spotted pair of yellow green yoga pants the color of puke, and a grey t-shirt that you can see through it is so threadbare. I came home and took a quarter of a tablet to get it into me asap, and then I proceeded to crash out for an hour.

This was the way the day went: make Dad’s breakfast, lay down on the couch. feed the cats, lay down on the couch. feed the dogs, lay down on my bed. Feed the birds, lay down in my recliner. Feed dad lunch, lay down in front of television. try to eat, fall onto couch again…

You get the idea. Somehow the hours have past and I am somewhat recovered. I wanted to post something so you all know I am still kicking, and I am praying with all my might for all of us. (Me and my other personalities…) Ha,ha! No, really, I know that with God’s help I will endure.

May Jehovah’s Will be Done! Then one day, none of us will ever suffer from any kind of sickness.

I am dreaming of that day.

Dreaming Awake.

A Welcome Whack on the Back!

He has a look, lately. A hateful look, cold. No trace of love. No recognition.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. I used to yearn so much for his love that I would have thrown myself in front of a train, just for a pat on the back. That is all I would get from him, on a good day. A whack that made my cheerios fly off my spoon, as he breezed past in the morning for coffee. I was surprised, actually, when he would take the time to do this, acknowledging my existence. I hated when he whacked me on the back like this, in fact, I did not like him much at that time.

My father had been the light of my life as a child, perhaps the way he withheld his love made me love him more. But those memories I have, memories of laying my head on his chest to hear his heartbeat, and him flying me up in the air on his feet, they put him in such a glow of adoration in my eyes.

I remember Dad at my basketball games, and softball, and taking my brother and I sled riding. He took me with him to play tennis on weekends with his friends, and taught me to love the soil, gardening, birds and clouds. It was enough just to be near him, somehow I felt like I was in on the joke, part of the fun.

But that was the problem with the way he loved. You were either in, and all his attention was on you-or you were on the outside looking at what you were missing. If he was loving my Mom, the kids were ignored, if he was loving my brother, then Mom and I were left out. It was a wheel, a merry-go-round of nightmare-ish fun. It must have been the way he was raised, the poison of co-dependency snaked through a long line of ancestors.

Thinking back, when I moved here after my Ex went to prison, I was the odd man out. Dad was not happy about sharing the house with me, he and Mom had settled into a routine. I upset that routine. I felt very unloved (by Dad, not by Mom), unwelcome, and misunderstood. But finally, as time went on, things seemed to smooth out. Until Mom and I were  having fun- then he was angry. And round it went, the codependency wheel.

Then Mom died. And we died with her, for a long, long time. I knew Dad grieved, it was heartbreaking to see his pain. I think he suffered more in his denial, instead of recognizing their painful marriage- he remembered it as being perfect. They were dream lovers in some fairy-tale romance- not the rage-filled, cursing haters they had become.( The truth is they did find peace at the end of Mom’s life, she found it in her heart to forgive him, and herself with God’s help.) To Dad, Mom was an absolute angel. Then the Dementia/ Alzheimer’s kicked into high gear.

Mom became me, or I became Mom. These last years I have cared for my father as my child, as a doting, loving daughter. But the territory is not easy- the terrain is rough. I know he believes I am his wife now, and perhaps he is even forgetting that. He stays in bed all day now- getting more and more feeble. He has gotten so frail that a glass of coca-cola at a restaurant is too heavy to lift, he won’t exercise. I know he has been sick for a week, but he won’t tell me where he hurts. I try to care for him, but he hates me for it, and fights me at every turn. I know he is getting worse, much worse, and the day is fast approaching when I won’t be able to care for him here.

I am unwell myself, with Degenerative Joint disease, Fibromyalgia and a Pulmonary Embolism, and a hip that is scraping bone, so I can’t walk even to the corner without pain. Bless his heart, he tries to understand, but forgets before the words of explanation about my physical condition are even out of my mouth. And why tell him if he will just worry?And he won’t know what he is worrying about.

Today, when he looked at me with that blank-eyed hate, I knew we had turned over a new page in our journey, a page I have been hoping would never come. Today it came.

My father, Anthony, who I adore, does not know who I am anymore. Kiko has left the building, and has been replaced by someone my Daddy doesn’t know, doesn’t trust, and certainly doesn’t love. My Daddy is gone from me now. I am just some stranger in his house.

Bye Dad. You are magnificent, you big meanie. I wish you would whack me on the back.

Feeling Any Pressure in Your Chest?

I was just rereading this,and remembering how scared I was then. I had forgotten the breathing issues I had even then! It seems like I have had many challenges these past years since I lost Mom. I had challenges before, but somehow she softened the blows for me, with her love, her empathy and her listening ear. It is very helpful to be able to dump on you, dear readers. A problem shared seems to mean a load lightened. I guess that is why Jehovah put more than one person on this Earth! And He let’s me share my problems in my prayers to Him, and then He helps me find the answers, and the people I need in my life. I am loved. I need to remember that today.

And every day!

Feeling Any Pressure in Your Chest?.