I've re-read this blog from the beginning many times. Some things have changed quite bit: Luther's mobility, our attitude toward this, not working so much. Others not so much and that includes this emotional rollercoaster.
Over the last several years, we've been Oprah-ized to think of this thing called "balance." It's on tv shows, it's in magazines: how to achieve balance in our lives.
I think it's more a woman driven idea: we can work full-time, take care of our families, do a little yoga and organize our closets. Maybe do a craft in between there, make sure we get our five fruits and veggies and take the dog for a walk. This idea we can do it all and do it with a zen-like quality.
I subscribe to a magazine called Real Simple. I especially love how it gives me 20 different uses for a q-tip. Has it made my life Real Simple? I'm dusting off my laptop keyboard with a q-tip as you read this.
I've always tried to contain my emotions. Feelings = bad. Especially the negative ones: anger, sadness, frustration. But when you wrap up those negative ones, the good emotions tend to get caught in that net, too. Most of us probably do this: we hold back our tears, we equate being angry with yelling, fighting or confrontation, frustration = fear or failure.
I've learned over the years it's ok to have these feelings and it's even better to let 'em out of their cage. Just because you get mad at someone or something doesn't automatically mean you have to pick a fight or roll your eyes or give the silent treatment.
It's ok to admit I'm frustrated and I've found that actually saying it out loud gives me relief and at times, resolution. Somewhat like this blog. I get it out of my head, sometimes people respond or reach out and I find a new way to look at things. Talk about win-win.
So now, with this illness, with watching Luther deteriorate right before my eyes, geez louise, there is no balance. It's exhausting. One day I'm devastated, the next I'm resolute in my dedication to being positive and then it all crumbles and I become a robot. This past weekend was robot-mode. I hid inside the house and slept a lot.
I liken myself to this warrior, a knight in full armor. Sword in hand, slicing through the anger, the frustration, my armor shielding me from the hurt and confusion. The downside to wearing this protective gear is, at times, preventing me from feeling anything. The good stuff bounces off the armor, too.
This armor is too heavy. I realize it's ok to FEEL. It's actually ok to sleep a lot. I'm trying to put away the "shoulds." What I think I should be doing, how I should be feeling.
From those dark moments where I get scared and think I can't do this - I simply cannot be everything for Luther: cook, housekeeper, nurse, physical therapist, psychologist, janitor, cheerleader, driver, dresser, wife. Sometimes I fail at most, sometimes I give a half-assed effort. Other times I'm awesome! From those dark moments come some really good things.
So this weekend, and actually after this whole week of processing a lot of negative emotions: fear of not working and loss of a career, loss of identity, uncertainty about our future and frankly, my future once he dies, sadness I have to give up my 14 year old cat, frustration over the fact I haven't cleaned our closet (this is bigger than it sounds because it means I have to go through his things and decide what he'll never wear again).... after all this yukky blah junk, comes some good and some light.
We went to dinner with friends Saturday night. I tried to find 1000 reasons not to go: tired, cold, tired, sad. But we went. It was good to get out, have a fun night that was simply about having dinner and playing games and good conversation.
But then, the conversation turned to how much we love each other. Which then turned in to how lucky we are. Lucky we found each other. Lucky we have people in our lives who are so supportive. Lucky he's a vet. Lucky I can stop working to be home with him.
Riding this rollercoaster every minute of every day isn't fun and yet, if there isn't dark, there can't be light. I have to get knocked down in order to appreciate getting back up. Realizing I'm not on the rollercoaster alone.
I'll continue to look for balance; I don't think my brain or my heart can take so much see-sawing.
Hopefully the one thing I can take away from this is it's ok to take off that heavy suit of armor, put down the sword and stop thinking of this as fighting the good fight. Instead, it's just living life with as much light and love as possible. Accepting fear and sadness, grief and anger as momentary emotions to feel and then let go. Figuring out how to enjoy the rollercoaster.