Saturday, September 6, 2008

Eye of the Hurricane

Daddy is doing much better, so we'll gear up for stage 2-Mom's stress reaction. She is out walking today-so hopefully that routine will help her through this. My task is pretty simple at this point-check in often enough to make sure they are both ok and stay the heck away.

I don't even have the energy or the inclination to contemplate if something is wrong with my brother. I know he's been working 12 hour days, and I know what that's like. Been there done that. What I'm doing is harder, but no one would believe that who hasn't done it and it's pointless to discuss.

The fmmily opinion at this point is I am shamelessly squandering the gifts I have (education that I earned and paid for-no gift there people) by playing with my animals and watching my family. What is ironic is that very few of them have any understanding about the professional accomplishments I have achieved and if I mention it it is always dismissed with a "well you were always smart and good at book stuff."

The hardest thing to take over the past week was watching a news program about saving for college. Mom blurted out "I guess Bill didn't want to go to college-we would have paid for BILL to go to college-he finished high school." Now, we were all tired, we had ALL been sitting in the hospital for several days-except for Bill who was busy working. Me, the ne'er do well, put myself through college and did quite well at it, during and after.

Really, college isn't the point. The hurtful part was that I was there, I had been there all week and I'll be there next week too-but it's that painful comparison thing they do where I always come up short and lacking, and in some versions, responsible for most of the ills that have befallen our family.

I know it's old age and stress and a lifetime of blame. I know my parents limitations and I love them anyway. I know they did the best they could and that they are STILL doing the best they can with what they have. And I know that Bill was in no way responsible for what was said that day-he wasn't even there.

What I don't know is how to not be hurt by statements like that. I know the next best thing, which is how to shrug it off and move on, but I do still wish for that bullet proof vest.


soulbrush said...

OMG this takes me back 27 years to when my folks were alive, they swallowed me up and spat me out day after day after day. YOU ARE A FANTASTIC DAUGHTER, and don't you ever forget that debs!!! you are successful every single day that you put up with all this crap, no comparison to working/high earning. that's all a loada shite anyway! this is the very reason that I had an eating disorder (hidden from them) and that i haven't missed them for one moment since they died!!!!my brother thinks i am heartless..i call it SURVIVAL!!!! you know you have my full backing on all of this, been there, done all that, got the scars!!!!! lotsa wfs and more and more wfs to you! stay strong.go play with your doggies and those two ollies and they will save you!!!

soulbrush said...

oh dear i wrote a book there! shows how strongly i feel about you and your situation. hugs.

Debra Kay said...

My own eating disorder is tied up with my Mom's (undiagnosed) one. I was pissed off when I traced it back, but by then I had already done extensive study on media influences on self image, so I was in a place where I could understand and not blame.

As she has gotten older, it's gotten more apparent. When I mention a friend, she immediately wants to know if they've had WLS, which one, how much they weight now and how much they used to weigh. I have to remind myself that she wasn't like that when I was growing up-although maybe the attitude was there.

Bottom line, and we've talked about this-much of my life experience they cannot understand-their world has narrowed down to 49th street and a few relatives and how it used to be. Understanding THAT on my part has helped me realize that that is just the way it is-again, no fault.

I can even see from their point how frustrating it must be to know I want something from them, but not understand what or how to give it. Sometimes my own search for answers has got to be annoying to them.

Even from an ego point-they are a bit perplexed because their daughter lives alone with a houseful of strange animals, some of which they find quite frightening. I can see, sort of, from a parental point of view, that has got to be, well, odd.

I can only believe that because I am sooooooo different from them, this is exactly what we all needed for the lessons we need to learn. That's on a good day. On a bad day I see myself as just someone else's karmic lesson or punishment.

I will say that I've felt for some years now my task of the moment has been to take what I've learned out in the world and come back and see how it applies to where it all began, and in the past year and a half I've really given it my all.

When I get lost (because this trip has fewer road markers than a school or career path) I just take a reality check and if I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be, I let it ride awhile longer. Hell, people who think they KNOW where they are going get lost too, don't they?

studio lolo said...

I think you've done an amazing job taking care of your parents and Uncle John, and you're still doing an amazing job. They may not be able to quite figure out what you're "doing with your life", but you know you're on the right path and that's all that matters.
I've always been the "different drummer" in the family and have been picked on and compared to and talked about ad nauseum. But now they all come to me for advice and comfort because I 'walk the walk' about being ME and owning it, no apologies. Still, when I'm alone I often wish I had a bullet-proof vest too.
You're an amazing, smart woman. They all need you and appreciate you. And I love how you aren't mad at Bill for their comments. And I know why you choose to live with a houseful of animals. They don't judge or criticize. They're purely intuitive and grateful for your presence because you are exactly as you should be.

Debra Kay said...

Lolo-animals are so much easier than people. I've always admired Jane Goodall-who loved her animals so much she left them to help them. I was thinking about this the other day-I don't think people like Jane or my other hero Jacques, set out to be famous heros...I think they just did what they wanted to do and it worked out that way.

I suppose approval only supports the status quo.

Mim said...

Deb - just back from a frustrating weekend with the 'rents. Got some of the same feelings going on.
How to Not feel hurt? The only thing that has worked for me (and it doesn't always work) is to pretend that they are just "People" that I know. Old people. Scared people. People trying to recapture a young past. Somehow it works for me...

Debra Kay said...

Mim-I feel for ya and I hear what you are saying. Our "parents" are gone before they are actually gone. They can no longer assume the leadership role, and that is just not anything I anticipated. Lately every time I've been hurt or angry, it has to do with me looking for something that is no longer there for me. It's like a second weaning process.

soulbrush said...

i count myself 'lucky' that my folks died so long ago....nasty but true!