Keep it Real Wednesdays
October 23, 2019
What kind of title is 475 for a Wednesday Blog?
It is a title that exposes my truth. It tells you that even though life may seem wonderful on a bike watching the leaves turn and listening to stories with my Mom …… 475 is still a very big number.
November 5th will be 475 days sleeping with a baby monitor next to my bed in case Rosemary needed me in the middle of the night. 475 nights of straining to hear if she is breathing and leaving my warm bed to help her when she needs it. I have been wearing my superhero cape proudly and saying, “I’m fine”.
“Fine” …the word that tells the outside world that life is jolly when it is not….
I am not fine. Caring for a parent 24/7 during the final season of their life is hard, hard in ways you can only imagine.
Sometimes, I believe some of us are burdened with a belief that we are born with superhero capes. Deep down, we believe somehow the world would dissolve if we just were honest with each other, and more importantly, with ourselves. As I watched Meghan Markle speak last week about her first year of marriage, new baby and being royalty, she stated she was not fine either. She said it was hard. The authenticity of her truth helped me to share my truth.
Here is my authentic and raw truth. Loving people can be hard work. Caring for people can be hard work. Both of those words are verbs because they require action. We want to think that somehow if we love enough, the care will become easy.
At first care providing does come easy, then it starts to wear on you like a pebble in your shoe. Soon, you find yourself annoyed at the pebble instead of taking the time to rest, take your shoe off and let the pebble out.
What is the moral of this story? It’s my time for respite. Respite is designed to provide a break so caregivers can remain at our best, and not get weary. It helps us walk the journey of caregiving without enduring the pebble in our shoe. It brings back the joy and honor in caring for another and helps adjust our attitudes.
During the past 475 days, people have offered to provide respite including friends and family. I declined and proudly displayed my superhero cape. Lately, I have found myself less tolerant, less joy filled and getting annoyed at the pebble in my shoe. Talk about displaced annoyance! It’s not the fault of the pebble. It’s all on me.
I don’t know what the magic number is, but I do know that 475 is too big of a number. Next year I will say yes to respite more, I will say yes to friends and family who would like to spend time with Rosemary so Wade and I can recharge our batteries. I also promise to remove the word “fine” from my vocabulary and take my shoes off at the slightest hint of a pebble.
On day 475, Wade and I will be boarding a plane to somewhere warm for 8 days where the drinks are cold, sand is white, and ocean is clear blue. The intent is self-care. I will regroup, recharge and heal to fly back to Boise with pebble free shoes.
My heart is enveloped in hundreds of different feelings right now. Feelings of respect and admiration, feelings of understanding and sorrow in the struggle, feelings from what it is like being the one needing care, and feelings of wanting to find away to make it easier to address that darn pebble. This read almost like a chapter out of my own book. YES 475 is to big of a number as an indication of days without self care. However, completely get he …no, I am “FINE”, see my cape billowing. It has not been until this last year that I have begun to understand the concept of self care and my need to say no I am not fine. I also have to acknowledge, that I am a constant work in progress, constantly emerging from my cocoon with newer and vibrant colors; that being so there are times I feel I have to be “fine” for others, so I say the words. I am getting better at letting myself not be fine and being okay with that.