Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Poltergeist has nothing on me.

So, once again, "I'm BAAAA-ACK." I went home again this weekend. Sis's neighbors are moving in a couple of weeks, and they were having a sort of, "Moving out of the neighborhood" party. So, that was the purpose behind me going home this weekend. The neighbors have pretty much adopted my sisters and me into their family, and they are wonderful. At this point, I'm going to take any family I can get. They're older folks, retired, and full of vinegar. Awesome. They really are.

But, the party was on Saturday. So, on Friday, Sis, Howard, Sunscreen, and I went to visit Ma. I'm not 100% sure she knew who we were. She hardly said two words we didn't pry out of her. She's in pain, she is totally confused, she looks sad, and it SUCKS. She looks and sounds just like my Grandma A. who had Alzheimer's (even though Mom doesn't have the big A; she has hardening of the arteries). We were at the home for about an hour. Frankly, I don't know which has been worse: Watching Ma's "slow" deterioration into dementia and ill-health, or watching my dad's quick and unexpected death when I was 12. It's very frustrating, and I'm sad about it.

It's weird, though, because as miserable I am about the whole situation, I think I'm probably doing better than the sibs. But, I feel kinda bad because even though I try to be supportive and listen, I think I may have a tendency to shut them down or dismiss their feelings about the situation. I can listen to other people til they are blue in the face, but when it comes to my own family, I find myself NOT asking the questions that pop up in my mind that could potentially spur some conversation that might offer them a little bit of insight into themselves and the situation in which we find ourselves. I don't dismiss them when they do want to talk, but I do less for them than I do for others, and I shouldn't.

Anyway, at my home church, people are always asking me about Ma. Today, I went to Pastor's "other" church. I think this was for two reasons: 1. I was tired and couldn't get up to go to my church, and 2. I think I have been trying to reject my issue with Ma. It's awfully hard to reject the issue when people ask about it all the time. I appreciate their thoughtfulness, but I am just so bummed about my mom. Just so bummed that I don't want to talk face to face with people who know her, and I don't want to see their expressions. But, the people at Pastor's other church know her, too, and so there was no escaping it today.

I have a friend here at the Mothership who has taken multiple units of CPE. Her supervisor is actually Supa's supervisor. So, I know him. I was talking to this friend of mine and mentioned "the 'Larry' face" that her supervisor has (for the purposes of this post, I have named her ex-supervisor Larry). It's a very blank expression that is virtually impossible to read. She told me that Larry used to be a family/marriage counselor, and the face is his way of not letting his facial expressions emerge so that people don't get uncomfortable telling him all sorts of things. Anyway, we have had many deep conversations about our lives, and recently she said, "You know, Trish, you have a pretty good 'Larry' face yourself." It's not a bad thing, she said. It's very non-judgmental. So, my "Trish" face is what I use a lot of the time. I put on my face when I'm anything besides happy (much of the time, anyway). And so, when people are asking me about Ma, I put on the "Trish" face, and it probably makes the people think I am a cold hearted, ungrateful brat who doesn't care. But I have not always been the best at letting others know when I am hurting, and I don't like to burden people.

In conversation with this friend, she said to me something like this, "So, you like to shoulder everyone's pain by yourself, and not let them do it? That's gotta be a tough job." and, "You like to spare other people from knowing you're in pain because you don't want to hurt them." And she didn't say it to be mean or sarcastic. I think it was more of a, "I'm going to hold this up to you in friendship" type thing. I think a lot of people try to keep from burdening their friends. Perhaps it's just a matter of not taking it to the extreme. Who knows.

Anyway, this was just me processing some thoughts and feelings. I'm fairly certain I'll feel better by tomorrow. Have a nice day.


Jae said...

Sometimes you just don't want to talk about things. And that's just fine. You start to feel less like a person and more like a walking pity party.

Maybe it's easier for you to help people through their issues because subconsciously and consciously you know that it's not your issue. You can help them the best you can and then you go back to your life. I think we all do that to an extent because it's kind of a "whew, glad that's not me!" thing. I do it and my personal distance between the problem helps me give what I think are sound thoughts, opinions, and ideas.

But, when it comes to your life and you can't get away from it and you're in the thick of living it, it gets to be overwhelming. I feel like I'm cheating because I don't live in the same town as my grandma-I get to go back and live my life while it's my mom's every day life. I feel awful but when we leave the nursing home, I feel a slight relief because instead of seeing her the way she is now, I can remember her the way she used to be.

Hang in there.

Jacki said...

love and *hugs* I'm sorry I haven't been around as much...we're without internets at home yet until this thursday...but if you ever need to talk you know I'm here!