Gone but not forgotten

I am writing to help myself clear my thoughts, and maybe heal a little more. Yesterday, my son and his family who do spend a lot of time here with me, came down and we used our smoker to smoke chicken for supper. I am not kidding, the time it took to cook this meat, was worth the wait. It was so delicious!

This was sort of like our second Thanksgiving, since my daughter came from out-of-state to spend time with me. She brought only one of her daughters and her husband had other commitments, so I didn’t get to say hello to him at all.

It was a little strained. There have been issues, and through it all, I am trying to bring back the person that has been hiding for so many years, and to begin to say what is important to me, and stand on my own two feet emotionally. For some people, this feels odd, others may not appreciate it, and still others enjoy seeing my strength come back.

I just got to the point in my life, that I felt like I needed to quit saying things to people, that I didn’t feel right in saying, but wanted to keep the peace, so to say. Knowing I may be hurting others, is not an intentional thing I want to do, but being someone other than myself was also destroying me.

This morning, I didn’t feel well. My hip and back where I have the arthritis hurt pretty good. I have done much more physical activity, and more work in the kitchen, so my body is screaming at me to take it easy.

I wanted to go see Al because I had not been there for two days. When I walked in, he was sitting in his recliner, hiding behind those stupid curtains that cut you off from the world, and dividing your room, making it look smaller.

He looked up at me, and I received a half-smile. He seemed different, just as he has other times, and I asked him how he was and if he was in pain. He said he was adjusting. What does this mean, adjusting. We kept talking and then he broke down in tears. He cried so much that his eyes looked like he had Pink Eye. He is sad and lonely, he said, and part of him wanted to come home.

The sad part for me, is I did not want to show him how much I missed him, by crying also, and as he and I chatted, I realized that he now knew the facility was not going to fix him. He had received the news that his therapy was all over, and they had told him they could not help his PD any longer.My guts and heart wrenched when he said this, because this was his only desire to going to a new home. He was not making the friends that he had hoped for and one reason for this, was his memory remembers his eight week rehab in Florida, where the patients are much happier and know they are only going to be there a short time. It was easy to make friends.

Here, he is roommates with someone in their eighties, and his roommate  is cuddled in his blanket most of the time he is up and he naps a lot. Al and him do speak, but it isn’t the same kind of talk he is accustomed to.

He gets one other visitor, that I am not crazy about, and I won’t go into that now, as it is another blog in itself. No one goes to visit him but me from family, so he sits. I think he is getting depressed and this scares me. He told me about his aching legs and I asked him if he went to church today and he said he didn’t know about any church.

Even though I had talked to him at an earlier time, he had forgotten I think. After we talked, I let him put his slippers on , and I went to speak to the nurse in charge of him that shift. I explained that Al will not ask for his pain medications, and he doesn’t ask about social activities. I explained his mentality, and said that a routine had to be formed and then a habit would occur.

She said she does asks Al if he needs pain medications, and he says no sometimes. I told her how Al has grown used to his  pain, and then he only asks when his pain level is so high, he can’t take it anymore. She said if she ask him and he says no, then she won’t give him any. I understand this, but at home, I didn’t want his pain to get so bad, that his tears and speaking of death came to a head. I don’t know how to deal with this. You have the laws of the nursing department, and you have the mentality of a patient.

Al said if he came home, we would argue again, and he may be right. He said he feels out-of-place, and I defended that remark, by saying I had never told him that I wanted him to leave and live somewhere else. He told me I could not fix his Parkinson’s and now the facility can’t fix it either. He told me it is so hard for him, that he just wants it fixed.

We talked about the arguing here at home the past few months that he was here. We talked about his wanting to die so bad, and that I could not help him do this. I told him how much it bothered me when he spoke of death, and he said he could not help it, and I said that this was what caused a lot of stress and arguing at home, that I was weak inside, because I loved him, and it hurt so bad, knowing he wanted to die.

As I sat there chatting with him, my heart was breaking into pieces. Part of me was remembering the frustrations of what we had been through here at home, part of me was thinking how bad I was, because I could not hold on anymore. Part of Al wanted to come home, part of me wants him to come home, and part of him wanted to stay there.

It is a mess in my eyes. I see a man crying, a man sad and hurting, a man who misses his family and a man who wants to be loved by everyone. I see a man who remembers working and going to ballgames, and auctions and having a life, now being forced to be dependent on all others. I hate his dad, our dad, for causing so much emotional pain for him, not accepting that his own son was different.  I hate Parkinson’s for ripping my brother’s future apart. I hate that my own family won’t take the time to go see him. I hate everything and everyone right now, but it is because I am hurting emotionally. I was hurting from the strain among family yesterday. I went to my own bed last night crying from what used to be. I clung to my memories of my own children and how it used to be, and now fighting the changes, that have come about due to the lack of understanding on their part, and the yearning to want to be able to be myself.

I hurt for not being able to care for my brother as well as I used to. I hurt because he is hurting, and what is worse than anything, is I look around my empty house and I look at the Christmas tree that the lights are off, and my own life takes the form of the tree. Dark and dreary, unable to put the light back on, unable to make anyone happy, unable to spark a brightness in others lives.

Right now I am so thankful I am the age I am, that my life is at least half over. Heaven sounds great! No more aching heart, no more sadness, only light and joy. People tell me you can’t make others happy unless you are happy yourself. I don’t know about this, because the more I try to do what is right, the more life becomes gray.

Hopefully, tomorrow , the day will be brighter, the air will smell fresher, and maybe Al will realize somewhere deep in his heart, that I am not his dad, that I am his sister, and I love him with all of my heart. I want him safe, and happy and as pain-free as possible. Maybe some day people will respect me for being strong, and if they do not, maybe some day, I will also adjust to living alone, behind some curtain, dividing the world off from me, hiding behind the curtain, and wishing things were different.

All I know at this moment, is that I desire and need peace. No more screaming from anyone, no more arguing, no more pain, no more nothing. I pray for an inner peace to come over me and fill my heart. I pray for the heart ache to leave, and I  pray for the tears that fall too easily to once again disappear like they had for the past five years.