I was putting wraps–ace bandage-like bandages–into the wash yet again for Mom. When she goes to the lymphedema clinic or I unwrap her at home, those wraps and all the under-bits and over-bits have to get washed. So every other day or third day I’m unrolling bandages and stuffing them into lingerie laundry bags so they don’t get tangled in the washer. So I’m stuffing the bags and thinking how often I have to do this–in small loads–because it’s costing us extra water and extra electricity and it’s not really about those things but it’s what is running through my head. And I tell myself that it’s not forever because eventually Mom will get compression garments that she can put on and off at home with velcro or they will be like bike shorts and knee-high combination compression garments. They will be used to maintain the swelling, not too reduce the swelling, so we have to get her to a point where the swelling is reduced and is at a plateau. So I tell myself that this constant washing and drying and re-rolling of bandages won’t go on forever.
And the phrase “nothing is forever” just goes through my mind over and over again. Nothing is forever.
Hub asks me if I’ve thought of what I will do when my mom is gone. Not in a mean way…we try to stay open and honest about what is happening with Mom. And at some point, all this care-giving and running and doing will stop…and I’ll be without a path again. Even worse, all the things I’ve been running and doing will stop abruptly and so how will I handle that. What will I do? I told him I didn’t want to think about it now, that when the time came I will just do something. I know I’ll have lots of things still to be done to handle Mom’s part of the estate. I know I’ll be helping my Dad take care of himself and their dog. I know I’ll have some things to do, but not like right now. Not like it’s going to be in the coming months as Mom gets sicker and sicker. But I don’t want to go that far ahead. I want to take care of what is front of me right now.
My aunt and uncle stopped by today to see Mom. My aunt pulled me aside and starting telling me of all the things I’m going to need to plan for with Mom’s passing. I wrote them down, but I told her that I wasn’t thinking ahead that far right now. That I needed to concentrate on what was right in front of me, and she reminded me that we won’t have much time to “plan” at the time she passes. I said I’d think about it and see what I could pre-plan.
I’m working so hard to stay in the moment, to do what needs to be done right now, and everyone else is asking me to look ahead. I look ahead too much and I get frozen and stuck. I get afraid.
I’m walking around trying to keep myself on a level emotional keel, but then I go home and explode. I kind of freaked out on the phone with Hub, who ended up rushing home to check on me, and all I did was cry. I got overwhelmed and I just couldn’t hold on anymore.
But I recovered, and I continued on. Which at least proves that I can.