I saw a friend the other day who asked if I was ok. Ok because I have not written for a while… I have written but I have held of publishing for now so panic not you will understand when you eventually read it but yes keeping up a blog is hard especially if you’re not sure if people enjoy reading it?! I see the stats when it’s published, which still astound me by the way, but who knows if they really read it…I worry that the content should be strong enough to make me want to read it. That’s my theory/mantra anyway.
Back to now and me. Looking back I wasn’t ok in April. I will be totally honest the last trip with Dad was a struggle but I didn’t see how much until of a struggle until a few weeks after I had returned.
I don’t do ‘down’, even my husband says I don’t require any drugs because I am always high but those very close to me knew that post that trip I had a difficult and lost month. I could not get my mojo back. I questioned everything even the fucking menopause because I could not understand why I was feeling that way. I felt, what can only be described as tired, angry, hot and bothered, fed up, lack lustre, defeated, fearful, distracted, forgetful, exasperated to name but a few emotions and I was missing my jovial, happy self. Where the fuck had she gone to. Not even gin was kicking her arse!
I now know, after speaking to a very close friend who is also a counsellor (superbly convenient) that I was grieving. Grieving the loss of Dad as I knew him and for those long chats we had over the phone I will always be eternally grateful. Truly, truly grateful.
Back to the here and now.
This week my sister came to visit. Sadly we had some flight issues which meant that her 4 day trip was cut short and became a 2 day trip but visit she did because ultimately Dad is much worse and who knows what the next year will bring. You can’t help where you are placed geographically and it’s at times like these where you realise how hard it is to be placed all over the world but go on we must.
So she visited Dad which in itself was quite saddening to watch on the first day. He was totally unaware of who she was. The lights were on but no one was home. Frankly he was akin to a rabbit in the headlights.
Eventually, we think, he understood who she was but I am not so sure if I am totally honest. He thought she was my niece, her daughter, which is even more bizarre as they look nothing alike, but with dementia you simply go with the flow.
She hadn’t seen my Dad for almost 3 years. They have spoken on FaceTime, albeit not for a while, but clearly FaceTime is not real time and has been a slightly futile experience for Dad yet we must try and try we do.
As I mentioned previously she was sadly only here for 48 hours and on the last day she went to spend a couple of hours with Dad on her own whilst I ran some errands. When I returned I found myself questioning my behaviour. Let me explain.
Since that April ‘haze’ as I shall now call it, I have been unable to touch Dad. No cuddles or kisses and believe me I have tried but I can’t do it. Frankly writing this is brings me to tears. I cannot but cannot break especially in front of Dad. He does not need it and neither do I. Yes I have helped to dress him and of course I still organise the shopping, the bill paying, the minefield of his appointments, doctors and social services, but I cannot touch Dad. I watched as my sister held his hand, chatted and cuddled him whilst I sat at a distance and observed. They reminisced over the photo wall that I had done earlier this year and I questioned whether I was a complete and utter bitch. Maybe if I was the visiting one it would be me doing the hugging and laughing but for me those days have dwindled over the last 6 months. I am sure that it doesn’t help that he regularly accuses me of stealing or hiding his things or calls me terrible names which are frankly awful but because I have become so detached I can still attend to Dads’ needs and care without those awful things hurting me because even now when my husband hears what he says, clearly after I translate, he asks if I am ok and I am because my ‘haze’ has enabled me to do that. I simply laugh it off. I have had to embrace my fight or flight mode because if you don’t you may simply burn out. Google it if you don’t believe me.
So I have come to the conclusion that the mind, like the heart, will block things out. My heart has very clearly, and loudly, told my mind to back away from Dad for some time now.
I can categorically say that I love my Dad and am very very loyal to him yet there is no shame is saying that at the same time as a carer I have moments of despair, resentment, loneliness and a whole other range of emotions which Dad does not need to know about.
I fixed my broken pieces earlier this year by changing some things in my life and for me that’s worked out just fine. I am still high, loud and as jolly as ever.
Who I really feel for are those people who are yet to glue their pieces back together. They will. They just need some time to fix them.