Sunday, October 28, 2012

Transitioning

I've been full of so many conflicting emotions lately.  I feel like I am on a roller coaster.  It's been a very challenging time for me.

One emotion I have been feeling strongly lately is anger.  I don't like it.  I am not typically an angry person.  I'm usually very controlled, and it really takes a lot to get me upset.  And I don't enjoy feeling angry.  It's a very negative feeling, and I don't find much use for it.  But I am angry.

I'm not angry at anyone so much, which almost makes it more frustrating; I'm just angry at the situation. 

Yesterday, my younger sister and her husband took my mom out while my brother, sister-in-law, and their kids came in and rearranged the whole basement.  They also moved mine and mom's elliptical machine from the basement to the upstairs office, where they cleared out a bunch of old computer equipment and a bookshelf.  I watched helplessly as they threw stuff out and moved stuff around.  And it made me angry; not because it wasn't necessary or needful, but simply because it's reminding me that things have to change, and I don't want them to.  It's reminding me that I'm relinquishing control of my mom's situation, and it's hard for me to do that.  It's reminding me that my mom has lost the ability to defend her own property, and that upsets me.  It reminds me that Mom's independence is slowly eroding away, and that breaks my heart.  It reminds me that there may come a time in the not-too-distant future when Mom can't even live in her own home anymore, and that makes me mad on her behalf.


Even though Mom's basement looks chaotic and disorganized, I knew where most everything was.  Now that it's all been moved and some stuff thrown away, I have no idea where things are, and the anal-retentive part of me finds that very frustrating.  Even though I know much of Mom's "junk" probably needed to be thrown away, I was very agitated as my family was rearranging and throwing stuff away.  At one point my sister-in-law asked me if it was okay to throw a certain item away.  I said, "I guess," and then I muttered to myself, "Looks like you guys are going to do what you're going to do anyway, so why should my opinion matter?"

I'm really not mad at my niece or nephew or my brother and his family.  I'm not.  My niece and nephew deserve their own space, especially if they're willing to take on the challenges of caring for my mom for another eight months.  And there is a practical side to throwing stuff out and organizing things better.  And truthfully, things look better.  I should be happy.

But I'm not.

I'm feeling such anger over the whole issue, and I can't seem to let it go.  It also makes me all that more anxious and eager to get back home to Jonah.  This home is starting to feel less like my home and more like my niece and nephew's.  Maybe that's how it should be.  But it leaves me feeling empty inside, and I don't like that.

There's also a part of me that's, like, "If they're only going to be here for eight more months anyway, what's the big deal?  Why does all this have to happen?"  And then that just reminds me that perhaps it's just my unwillingness to deal with the inevitable: that Mom has reached a point in her life where she can't fully care for herself and will reach a point where she can't live here by herself, whether that means bringing in someone else or moving her elsewhere, and both of those options make me angry.

I'm burned out.  I don't want to admit it, but I am.  Being Mom's primary caretaker and being away from Jonah for so long has really taken a toll on me.  I am ready to go home.  I need to go home.  And I am so excited to spend some time with my husband.

Mom is already getting blue that I am leaving.  It breaks my heart.  But I have to leave.  It's time.  I hope she will be well taken care of, and I hope that I can still continue to help her as much as I possibly can from where I am.

I'm glad my niece and nephew have their own space.  I really am.  They seem happier, and if they are going to be here another eight months, this should feel more like a home to them.  I guess I'm just mourning what has been lost and what will continue to be lost.  The basement has pretty much much looked the same way for 15 years now, and now it doesn't.  And it doesn't matter.  But what it symbolizes does: the loss of who my mother was and who she is becoming.

I spent last week looking at some assisted-living facilities for the future should we need them.  Not the most fun project I've ever had.  There are some nice places and some not-so-nice.  We need to find one that's financially feasible and one that will meet Mom's needs, but also be nice.  I dread the day when she actually has to move into one.  I think she'll actually grow to like it eventually, but I think initially she will hate it and will resent us.  I'm not looking forward to that.

I went through some of the "junk" downstairs and found a box of old school stuff my mom had saved.  Actually, I think she had one for each one of us kids, although I think my brother took his or threw it away because I didn't see his down there.  Going through mine, I actually found that most of my schoolwork wasn't worth saving.  I threw most of it away.  There were a few drawings and report cards I hung onto, although I may throw them away eventually as well.

One thing I did recognize: I was a weird kid.  I look at some of my art and think, "How is it they didn't have the sense to bring a child psychologist in?"  I would have.  lol

I also found an old army canister that had my dad's Navy papers, my parents' wedding certificate, Mom and Dad's patriarchal blessings, report cards, a letter Dad wrote his family while on his honeymoon with Mom, Dad's high school diploma, Mom's baptismal certificate, a letter to Mom from her grandpa, a card I gave her one Christmas when I was in Vegas going to school, a letter my sister wrote to Mom, a silly letter I wrote Dad, and a whole bunch more. It was fun to go through.

I know there is a box downstairs that has some of Mom's mementos from her youth.  I know there is a photo of her at some conference with President David O. McKay in attendance, and there are also some old pictures of movie stars she collected.  I hope to find that.  I hope my siblings will let me keep the movie star photos after Mom goes.  I've always wanted them.  Although the point is moot if I can't find the box.

It's hard saying goodbye to the home I was raised in.  I imagine one day, perhaps sooner than later, I will have to say it more permanently.  That will be hard.

Anyway, writing this all out has made me feel better.  I think I just need to learn to let go.

4 comments:

LCannon said...

I understand your anger. I'm grateful that I don't have to be there. I agree with your post and your sentiments. As far as I'm concerned, you can keep all of it. I just want the scrapbooks and journals that were mine to begin with. I can't look at what's being thrown away or I'll think I want to keep it - and I have some dejunking of my own.
If something has been untouched in the shed the last three years, it is time to let it go. If Patrick were to throw out my box of school papers, I would never know. It might be fun to show Jenna. But I really don't need to hang onto anything.
I'm sorry that it's making you angry. But I do understand. Not that my understanding will make you feel better.
You know what hurts the most? I've never had that same bonding with Patrick and Sunny after I was married. I really don't know any of their children - especially the two youngest. And Richard says once mom is gone, that association may stop all together. He's probably right. Not that Sunny won't try to get us together. She's always been the one who seems to bring us together.
But how often have we seen dad's sibs or get together with our own cousins since Grandma Helen passed?

Life changes. Some changes are good. And some suck greater than a vaccuum cleaner

Dean Scott said...

No suggestions from me this time - just prayers. Glad that writing helped you feel better.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Thanks, Dean.

LCannon, I'm glad you get it. It's nice to know that someone in the family relates to how I have been feeling lately.

But I agree that a lot of stuff can go; it's just letting it go that is the challenge.

I hope when Mom goes, we won't stop associating. I can't imagine that happening with you and me, at least. And I think you're right, Sunny will still keep us all interacting.

Love you.

Dean Scott said...

Oh, your weird art comment reminded me of my son. He loved pirates and pirate ships. In high school he drew a very detailed pencil sketch of the bow of a pirate ship going through the head of a pirate.

He had a student job at my employer. We had a counselor through the Employee Assistance Program. He took the sketch to work to show his co-workers. One of them, who I was good friends with, told me that we needed to refer him to the EAP counselor.