We make decisions in life, but we have no handbook to advise us except that which our parents taught us or allowed us to learn in our mistakes.
My mother and my Dad were polar opposites. My mother took extreme measures to control me and once even abducted me after I had left home and lived abroad. My Dad represented reason, a calm voice who gave me freedom and love, and so I always returned to him except when my mother made it impossible. A year before my mother passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly, she suffered a significant stroke. I arrived at the stroke unit an hour or so after she had been admitted, early in the morning. I brushed her teeth, washed her face, fixed her hair. I never imagined such a thing occurring. But I had always been kind to my mother when she was unwell, which was hard to discern as she was a hypochondriac.
I have decided to be happy in my journey of terminal illness, pain and severe limitations on what I can do.In the last several weeks I have felt an ennui, a weariness of being limited, fatigued in minutes of standing or walking, feeling helpless when my sheets become adrift and cause me discomfort. I don’t have the energy to remake my bed, and I often forget to ask my daughter until she has left my room. I have learnt to not call her back. She is still young and has not learnt empathy, but, even so, I am very proud of her personality and talents. I taught her to forgive, to express anger appropriately, but she is at the age of rejecting family values, thinking she knows everything. As I once did.
My ex is my carer. He comes twice a week. At first, it was great but now he arrives without announcing himself, does what he wants to do and has an expectation that I can do what he wants me to do, like hang washing. This said he broke our washing machine the first time he used it and so that is a financial worry for me, and my daughter is upset as she needs clean clothes for her job. I feel for her. That which we rely on, when it is gone, no matter how temporarily, can cause so much worry and distress.
So I feel stuck, frustrated, helpless and at times I fall into the trap of feeling like a victim. I am not, even though my life has been very hard I will not be a victim. I am dependent, though, and this is very hard. I have lived overseas, driven hundreds of miles alone and with passengers, brought up my daughter alone, made a home alone twice. I put myself through education twice.
I feel reduced. Incomplete. Caged. I can still be happy despite this, or have serenity. That is a much better term. I can have serenity. Despite everything, I can choose serenity. Patrick O’Neil can relate to this in a different way. Many can, in other situations. I can only change what I can, and should accept what I cannot.
I am sad that I can’t get on a plane, drive more than say, twenty miles. I can’t change people, though some close to me appear to want to change me. My restriction in ability triggers my post-traumatic stress syndrome. I can get very vocally loud for a short time, panic, but then it is gone.