I am not perfect, nor is my experience of life. I am not always happy. I often feel resentful, sad and afraid. I silently and frequently ask, Why me? Have I done something to cause this? Will I become a burden to Keith and my children? Will I need to be institutionalized?
Last night I had a bad dream. If you are a consistent reader of my posts, you might recall I had been experiencing frequent nightmares. I went to my doc and got meds to help reduce them. The meds have worked, thank goodness, but of course I still have dreams…and last night’s dream was not a nightmare, but a “bad dream.” In contrast to the fear and terror in my nightmares, this one was characterized by what might be better described as a sad kaleidoscope of my reality. The vision included sadness, self-pity and a dire version of my fading future.
When I awoke from the vision some of the details were blurry, but the emotion of self-pity was distinct and strong. I shed tears for myself and my loved ones.
Upon awakening I lay still, next to my dear sleeping Keith, and silently cried and prayed, “Oh, I don’t want to be a burden.” Burden is a noun Keith always denies he feels. “You are not a burden, Gin,” he always responds. “I love you and want to take care of you—as you have done so many times for me.”
I know his words are true and sincere. Still, I could not go back to sleep, and instead allowed my self-pity to run freely and fully. “I don’t deserve this. I don’t want to lose my memory, my mind, my dignity. I don’t want to be a burden. I am afraid of the future.”
My tears flowed easily, and in time they seemed to relieve my anxiety and stress, somewhat. Nevertheless, my fears and forecasting made me vacillate; I could stay at the stage of mental capacity I’m at for a long time—or not. Generally there is no physical pain with dementia; I could be a ‘happy person’—with dementia. Or quite the opposite. I could become mean. Snarly. Even nasty.
Tears started to flow again. I let them fall, acknowledging my right to be sad.
Eventually I looked over to Keith, sleeping soundly once again. I reminded myself he and my family will always make the right decisions on my behalf; they won’t let me suffer. In time I fell back to sleep with tears drying on my cheeks.
Even hours later, the sad and morose feelings linger.
This morning I realize I must write about this experience, both for my own healing and for the honesty I’ve promised to my readers. I fear my narrative may give an incomplete impression in my posts that I don’t feel sadness or self-pity, or that I’ve evolved beyond experiencing periods of despair and anger. Of course I do. I’m human. I still don’t want to become a hag, but at times if feels good to embrace the urge to be one and let it all out…and sometimes, I do.
I understand I have no control over the future—only this day. So, I relieve my anxiety by ‘writing it away.’ Letting my readers know I’m not a Pollyanna. I can be mean and snarky, curt and sassy, as I have felt this morning. I can feel sorry for myself or I can compensate by eating a gigantic bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream for breakfast…which is exactly where I’m heading.