Yesterday I posted about guilt and God. I don’t know if it was the fact that I cried so much or just life, but I went to bed at 7:30 and woke up at 1:30 and then went back to sleep and slept until 8.
Was I that tired? Or was I running from life? I think I was just that tired. This morning I have taken glances back over the past few years and looked at what I have done. This really has nothing to do with New Year‘s Ever resolutions. Nor does going to the class and walking today. I believe God knew that I needed saving and so he pushed me in the direction.
Can guilt make you depressed? I don’t know. My friend Viveka told me last evening that I am suffering from not having anyone to take care of right now. I think there is validation in this.
How does a child learn guilt? When I look back through my life I can see some points that may have helped mold me to who I am today. I can remember when my baby sister was born. I was ten years old. I didn’t realize at the youthful age that one person could get more attention than another. I do remember fighting for my highlight in my stepmother’s life.
It was the following summer that I was expected to be a mature young lady at 11 and start babysitting the little sister. I would care for her on school breaks. I was taught how to cook a complete meal, clean the house, and doing laundry and even ironing. But, does this bring guilt about?
At 13 I learned for the first time that I had a real mother out in the world. I don’t remember going into any mass depression, but I do remember thinking I was going to find her. I don’t think it was because I was so aloof from my step-mom, as much as it was curiosity, or was it?
From that point on, I was in the middle class of popularity in school. I worked part-time, sang in the choir and yet I do remember that I clung more to my dad. I thought of him as my hero. I was where he was. I learned that it was an ugly divorce between him and my real mom and that with the help of him, his parents, and the law, he had rescued Al and me from the big bad wolf.
I put my dad on a pedestal. I can remember mentally comparing him against mom. I had divided the two. She was the one who liked my baby sister more than me. He was the hero of my life. Did this change me from an innocent person to one full of guilt? I still don’t know.
I can remember getting married and having children. The children almost became more significant than the marriage. Why? I have thought of this throughout my years. I believe it was because they were mine. No one could divide them or take them from me. I loved and cared for them like a mama bird cares for her young.
Divorce hurt more as far as my kids were concerned. The split, pain of words spoken and changes from a routine were very difficult. This is when I remember guilt beginning to start with a capital G. I felt guilt for the pain of what the kids suffered through it all. I felt guilt, that I was struggling in my own mind. I had found my real mom after all these years, and it wasn’t what I had dreamed of. There was only a surface connection between my mom and me.
It wasn’t strong like the yarn of a spider web that couldn’t be broken.The web was never formed. She loved the little girl she remembered, and not the grown woman. The depression that I was hurled into helped cause the divorce. No one understood what I was going through mentally, not even me.
I slid through the next few years by the seat of my pants. I did things that normally I would have put a way on the top shelf of my bedroom closet when I turned 18. It was like something had a hold of me. I needed to know that someone cared. I needed to feel loved. I didn’t cross the line of disaster, but I did make a lot of mistakes. I know that I still carry the guilt of this today, when I think about my own kids.
When my step- mom died years later, I was devastated. Yet there was a small part of me that I remember thinking, the guilt is now over. I don’t have to be ashamed of not being her real child. I am not sure today, that I ever let that guilt go totally. I don’t sit around and think about it. I do think of mom a lot, but not that part.
It was soon after that when I started caring for others. I began the career by working in nursing homes. I traveled pretty much throughout Indiana filling in for shortages for other nursing staff. After the price of gas started to skyrocket I looked for alternative ways to be a caregiver.
I didn’t plan on it, but I ended up beginning private care. I took care of elderly in their home. I became a part of the family. I went on outings with my patient and the family. I felt needed and cared about. I felt loved.
A husband and wife was one duo that I took care of for a few years. It so happened that I knew one of the grown children and had even visited in their home in my youth. I loved the entire family. They had a daughter named Anita, that I thought was the most awesome woman. We clicked right a way and I still keep in touch with her today.
The wife passed away first and then I came back and helped take care of the husband. At the latter stages of his life, I had become involved with the care of my own father. He had bone cancer. I was his primary caregiver for the next year.
Both dad and the husband died very close together, and then I went straight in to caring for my brother Al. Now he is in a nursing home and I have drifted off into some world I have never really experienced. It wasn’t like my divorce. It was deeper. The divorce ended. Al is still here but living else where. Is guilt what I am living? I do know that I hate myself for not being able to keep him home longer than I did. I always ask myself, could I have done it just a bit longer so he would not be in there so long?
I don’t know. Reading back on this blog posting, I can see that I have a deep desire to be needed and loved. Maybe being a caregiver is the way I was able to obtain that feeling. Now I am alone. I really think there is guilt mixed in with the loneliness. I think Viveka is right though. I am without someone to care about right now.
So does this stem from my childhood? I think so, very much. I don’t know how to change who I am, but I am going to at least get involved with something else besides being a caregiver for others. I am going to give it a good shot at caring about me too.