Ken, my son who lived with me, killed himself the day after Christmas. I’m still in shock and disbelief. I’ll write more later..
During WW II, when I was in my teens and searching for love, I met a soldier at the USO, after dancing with several others, who seemed like a perfect gentleman. We danced all evening to Harry James, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey. At intervals, especially after high energy dances like the jitterbug, the soldier brought coca colas to me for refreshment.
On the sidelines, an army recruiter I’d dated a time or two, watched. As the night wore on and people, one after another left, my soldier and I became the last couple on the dance floor. I was ready to leave with him when the recruiter told my female friend that the soldier I was with, had been spiking my colas all evening and to not let me leave with him. She convinced me to go home with her as we had planned. Looking back, I’m pretty sure the recruiter saved me from a bad experience.
Sometimes I wonder how most youngsters make it in the world. I had other experiences which turned out okay but could have gone in a different direction. Today I want to honor and express my gratitude for the guardian angels/saviors in my life. I believe we all have them, whether we realize it or not, and, also,we ARE them, or can be.
Maybe one thing I can do the rest of my life to make it worthwhile is to feel responsible and care for all of God’s creatures, when the universe asks me to, even when it’s inconvenient.
Some days, I can’t do anything without feeling dizzy and light-headed. If I try to cook or empty the dishwasher, even in my wheelchair, I feel as if I’ll pass out. So I have to be content to do nothing.
Every time I have a day like this, I become discouraged, believe I’ll never feel ‘normal’ again, whatever normal is. To me, it’s being able to walk through my house without the aid of a walker or a wheelchair (though I’d welcome a walker today); cook and bake the way I used to; drive; walk my dog, play with her outside, visit my friends; go shopping; go to church; do the laundry and other chores when they need to be done, not having to wait for a ‘good’ day. Or even just to get up and walk across the room to look out the window or turn on a light.
I think of the things I used to do and realize how much personal freedom I’ve lost. When I was 80, three months after Forrest died, I sold my house, had an auction and moved to Connecticut all in one month. Now, five years later, I’m in a wheelchair. Actually, a year after Forrest’s death, I started using a walker. Just months later, the wheelchair.
I’ve seen doctors, had tests; No one can make a diagnosis. It’s obvious that I have high blood pressure but my heart beats steadily, though I do have a condition called paroxysmal atrial tachycardia which sends me to the ER when I have an episode (not often).
I knew one day I’d get old and have to slow down, but I never dreamed I’d not be able to walk. It was a blow when I could no longer dance. I loved dancing. Such a freeing feeling. Now I’d be deliriously happy if I could just walk and feel normal.
Today I had to cancel a dental appointment. My teeth really need to be cleaned and it takes so long to get an appointment. Making appointments is tricky. Fitting Ken’s time in with office time.
Then there are the better days when I can wheel lickety-split through the rooms of the house, stand, walk with the walker, fix a meal without feeling I’m going to faint, perform light chores… I’m a completely different self. And I don’t know why. I keep looking for answers so I can make all days better. I appreciate them so much when they occur.
At my age, you realize that you’re not as in control of your life as you once thought. There’s not much in life you can depend on 100 %.
I try to accept what is and go on with my life. Find things I can be grateful for–the beauty of nature, my sweet companion dog, JennyPenny, what family and friends I have left, my books, computer, telephone, my mind, a house I like, funds which I hope will last me the rest of my life if the economy will allow it, the list goes on. I’d like to add faith to that list but there are questions, doubts to overcome. That’s for another day.
This is not an uplifting blog. I started it to find answers, to become acquainted with myself. And to present that self to the world.
I fell apart after Betsy died and can’t seem to recover. Have episodes of increased BP, nausea, blurred vision, ringing ears, passing out. I’m anxious and depressed. Don’t know if it’s stress or something else. I’ve had these symptoms from time to time, but it’s more often now, and more severe. It’s getting harder to hold on to a positive outlook. In the past three days, I’ve been to the ER and seen three doctors.
I’m living the days I’ve dreaded for a long time. I’m old. I don’t like it, but I’m old, alone and lonely. I’d love to have another furry companion but I’m afraid to get one. Will I be able to care for her/him? Would it be fair to the animal? So I go through the rooms my precious ones have filled and the rooms are so empty!
A nurse from St. John’s Home Health Care was here today interviewing me. Can they help? I hope so. My spirit has been broken before. I hope I can heal it once again.
It would be wonderful to have just one person in the world you know cares what happens to you. Seems to be a necessary requisite for survival. I’ve always known why old souls in convalescent homes just shrivel up and die.
Enough said. Tonight, I pray for the strength and courage to heal myself.
I’ve shrunk with age; parts of me have fallen, and wrinkled and changed in other ways; but my mind, heart and soul are ageless.
I’m unable to go very far without a walker or wheelchair.
It’s no longer safe for me to drive.
I have to break up tasks with periods of rest.
As my friends and family pass away, I’m becoming more and more isolated.
I have medical problems that will never be cured.
I am no longer desirable.
I’m lonely, sorrowful, regretful for past thoughts and deeds.
But I own my own home.
I feed and dress myself every day.
I prepare healthy, tasty meals.
I have a library of books I’m reading through.
Nature is always there.
I can still learn
and embrace the beauty of the world.
I have friends I visit with on the phone.
I can stop expecting a better me,
a richer life,
the sun always shining.
I can be in each moment
accept my life as it is,
forgive myself and others.
I have much to be grateful for.
The amazing thing is–
Joy! I’m here!
I saw Kathy today. It was a good session. She gave me the names of some people who are dedicated and honest: an internist, a housekeeper, a woman who will do small jobs. She said these people will not take advantage; I need to wipe the slate clean and start anew.
I find myself now in the same situation some of my old patients were in when I was practicing nursing. I saw their helpers often pounced on their helplessness and used it to their own advantage. I know now out of experience why at least some of us, and probably most of us, know when this is happening, but feel trapped by our infirmities which make it necessary for us to hire such people in the first place. We need the help and feel we have no choice. So we accept the disrespect, the cheating, the negligence, the self serving. Not that there aren’t the honest, caring, compassionate, honorable souls out there who take pride in what they do, but we are often too incapacitated or weary to search. So we settle and are willing to overpay in order to get our needs met. It’s disheartening enough to become prisoner to bodies growing less and less efficient so that we have to hire others to do things for us that we used to do for ourselves and would rather still do but are unable.
I’m afraid I’ve become skeptical and gloomy in my old age. But not entirely. There’s still room for hope in the belief that I’m surrounded by the beautiful and need only to open my mind and heart and I’ll find them. I need to do what I can to correct my own problems and start thinking about how I might be of use to others. This would give me a reason for living and be a source of great pleasure.