I spent most of Christmas Eve day in bed with the dogs on the bed, and the covers over my head, it’s my drug of choice when I can’t cope. I was doing a lousy job trying to gear up to bring Mom over to my house for dinner, spend the night, and have Christmas morning together. Clearly it was too much emotionally for me to handle, and ultimately those plans imploded.
When I called Mom around 3:00 p.m., she had no idea it was Christmas Eve or that we even had plans. Given my state of mind, I down-shifted and rolled with it, telling her I’d pick her up in the morning for a nice big holiday breakfast together. “Oh? …What holiday is it? That will be fun!” she said.
My assuming she counted on our Christmas Eve, Christmas Day plans originated three weeks ago when it was put on her calendar, then followed by the relentless phone calls inquiring about our holiday plans.
This is why I can’t gracefully dismount the emotional teeter-totter every single holiday. I never know if what I do or don’t do matters. I’m never 100% sure if Mom will or won’t remember the holiday or our plans. I still don’t seem to get that her seemingly lucid moments of questions and anxieties are short-lived. I still don’t seem to get that I’m the parent and Mom is the child now. I’m still caught between thinking and hoping she can still connect the dots and my denial of where we are truly at with this disease. Bah-humbug.
Maybe it’s why I found coal in my stocking this morning along with a beautifully wrapped present from Santa – a gorgeous conical cap with sparkly letters saying, “DUNCE.” The card read, “You crack me up, Vic. Keep your sense of humor and go easy on yourself. Hope my gifts make you laugh as they are meant to. Love, Santa.” They did. The hat is perfect, and I threw the coal on the fire to keep me warm.
…I am on my way to pick Mom up for the day. I will let you know how it goes…
What Is True For Me: Hard to admit I wouldn’t even take my own advice offered in yesterday’s blog about ‘doing the best we can with our loved one and ourselves.’ I didn’t feel I was doing my best when I couldn’t scrape myself up off the floor, or get out of bed and follow through with my grand plans with Mom.
It is a recurrent lesson of self-forgiveness because clearly my guilt is still wrapped in a red Christmas bow of not knowing whether I’m doing the “right thing” by Mom, by God, or even myself.
So, how ’bout this-
I’ll agree to take my own advice in yesterday’s blog, including ‘there are no rules for us caregivers at any time, on any given day, much less the holidays,’ and walk my talk. If you can help me by doing the same, my gratitude will be never-ending. Let’s just continue to row-row-row our boats gently down our stream, and when one of us capsizes, any one of us will come to your rescue, trumpets, paddles and all.
I say this with all my heart – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.
Try and always keep a sense of humor. It has saved my life a time or two-