I Don’t Think I Can

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I sit here and I read everyone getting up on their hind legs and telling everyone else what they want them to do, they want them to stay home. They want to flatten the curve, that it isn’t that hard, that our grandparents had to go to war and we only have to “go to couch”…I am here to tell you it is that hard.

For most of my younger life I lived this life of quarantine. My mother had 4 heart attacks before I was 16 and she never drove. My father traveled for work and was not home much until after I started school, so I was home all the time with her. My mom tried really hard, but she was confined to a bed in the living room off and on as I grew up. She taught me how to make paper dolls and I learned really well how to play by myself. I had some good memories, but I think it is a big part of why I am an introvert. I escaped into books and tried to copy how crafty she was, but it was lonely.

I heard my parents argue and worry about how they were going to pay the bills because my mom was sick or something went wrong with the car and my dad was the only one working. I was young, but some things just imprint on you.

Granted there were times where I played with friends and we went places (but only when my dad was home). Yet my world was pretty small. So now here we are almost 40 years later and we are being forced to quarantine in our homes. We will eventually not be able to pay our bills, we will not have arrested the virus by these actions (strictly my opinion and you are welcome to disagree if you like, but do so politely.  I will delete nastiness.) and we haven’t gained anymore than we should have just being the people that Christ has called us to be.

I sit here and I guess I begin to revert to that little kid who sometimes felt trapped in her own home. I hear people who can work from home calling it not such a big deal (yeah you, the one telecommuting……you still get a paycheck) and I remember not being able to do things because we didn’t have enough money or I couldn’t go because my mom didn’t drive and my dad was away so someone had to be home with mom.

I think to some degree this is the worst I have handled anything. I don’t want to think about your feelings because I can’t get a handle on mine. I don’t want to hear one more time about social distancing or sheltering in place because that was my life for so long. I absolutely do not hate my mom for her illness, but I am really beginning to not like a lot of other people in the present.

I’ll be over here and it’s best to leave me alone because I don’t think I can……….

Where Are You Going?

I haven’t been able to write in a long time. I thought that when I got back from teaching English as a Second Language in China that the writing would come easy; it didn’t. It took me awhile to settle into life again after that experience. I don’t think I even wanted to because life has thrown a curve ball as it is want to do at times.

My mother has dementia. At first it wasn’t too bad, she would make me repeat things several times that I had told her or remind her constantly of dates and times of things. Then at Easter it became apparent that it was progressing. Details about family stories were twisted in her mind and she would say to my father, “Isn’t that right?” to clarify her position. My dad would not verbalize and agreement, but by not disagreeing he is, at least to me, avoiding the issue.

I am an only child and most of the rest of our family is either gone or feels no need to interact. Not having that interactions are not what makes this a lonely experience, it’s trying to help my parents when they balk at anything that has to do with what comes next.

There are days that are harder than others because they are a glimpse into the future without my parents. My childhood was not all rosy, but it wasn’t horrible by any means so this new road we are traveling is one of the most difficult I have been on.

I am watching a woman vanish before my eyes, who raised me primarily on her own for the first 5 years of my life without being able to drive. My mom also had 4 heart attacks before I was 16 years old, so many of these years she was raising me from a hospital bed in the living room.  She is leaving us in increments. Sometimes I think this is crueler than if she were taken home.

I am learning the hard way to dig deep and find patience I never knew existed inside of me. Our pastor jokingly tells us that if we ask God for patience that He will allow a trial to teach you patience.  This is one trila I would have been very happy if He had stopped.

So be patient with me because there are days that are much harder than others and I am not sure why I snip and snarl at the ones I love. But there are days that God is my refuge and strength and a very present help in my troubles.