Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Feeling it all.

I have to first off say that I am a bit overwhelmed by all of you, the love and support and encouragement......ack.  You make me cry.
There aren't enough words to thank you all properly.
 Soon I will do a giveaway to celebrate making it through all this.

I am being "good", staying PUT for the most part, resting, and letting my body get over this last assault.  Nurse Roy is on the job.

 But I do feel amazingly WELL, a big surprise to me.  I expected, as did my family, that I would be knocked just about flat with a THIRD surgery in 14 months.  But not so.  Not at all.  In fact, if anything, I feel better than I have felt in two years.  Hallelujah, and amen.

Even good enough to take Roy for short walks by the river.

I am also conflicted, and while it is hard to talk about, you know that I will, because it is real, and it is happening.  I think that my current situation has made me as vulnerable and emotional as I ever want to be.

On one hand, I miss talking to my mother, terribly.  On the other hand, the relief of not having to care take another human being is immense.   So I walk around my house, seeing her everywhere, hearing her voice, and yet being soothed by the quiet and peacefulness that is so different from before.
I know it's ok, it's normal.  How could I NOT be conflicted???  My mother was not only a job to take care of with her many needs, she was emotionally difficult for the last year of her life.
Suddenly now, there is no blaring TV 12 hours a day, I do not have to shop for her, cook for her, schedule appointments for her, bathe her, do her laundry, take her to doctor visits, wake in the night to her call, rush home to check on her.  Then again, several times a day I start to turn to go tell her something, show her a baby picture, forgetting that she is not there. gulp.

It's over.

I don't regret taking care of her.  I am glad that she was here and not in the nursing home until the very end.
I am also happy to be free of that responsibility.
So the feelings of relief and sadness are swirling around my head, and most of the time, I just sit back and let it happen, because I don't know what else to do.  I keep telling myself that I did the best I could do.  It helps.

Here's what I do know.
I had my first daughter in 1968, my second in 1974, my third in 1981.  So you see that I had a small child for a LONG time.  I barely would get one in kindergarten, and I would have another newborn.
My youngest daughter left for college in 1999.  My mother left her home to move to mine in 2000.
So, the reality is that I have been responsible in a huge way for someone else since I was 21 years old.  FORTY FIVE YEARS.

It's my turn.
I don't want to sound selfish.  I loved my mother so much.
But it's still my turn.

I don't want much more than to just be happy.  I want to enjoy my family, my friends, my studio.
 I want to be able to be present in my own life, without the constant pain.
I may get what I wish for, I may not.
The spinal fusion doctor that assisted my neurosurgeon, said this: "If we were as smart as we think we are, you wouldn't have been here three times."
Then he went on to say that they have never seen this before, this crazy overgrowth of bone in a cervical spinal fusion, they don't know what to do about it, they are doing the best they can come up with, and hoping for the best outcome.
Ah, me too.

In the meantime, every day I text my daughter for my daily dose of sweetness.  This is the one she sent me today.
Baby Dale.  Or should I say Princess Dale?


Unknown said...

Hilary, thank you for honestly expressing your feelings. Many of the things you have talked about in the years I have followed your blog have really resonated with me in regards to my own relationship with my mom. My mom is still with us, I have spent the better part of ten years seeing her through surgery after surgery etc. I expect when she passes that I will have similar conflicted feelings. We have done the very best that we could do, it's okay to be honest about our feelings. It is overwhelming sometimes. I hope this time you have a complete and permanent recovery.

Connie in Hartwood said...

All I can do is send you a hug (a careful hug) to let you know that I care and I understand. Baby Princess Dale is a darling!

C-ingspots said...

Oh Hilary, your grand daughter is absolutely beautiful!! What a blessing for your family. :)
And, I am so relieved and happy for you that the surgery is over, and seems to have been successful. Wow!! My prayer is that your pain is dead and gone. That you can begin this new phase of your life with joy and enthusiasm. I so appreciate your honesty, and your true feelings. So refreshing in these times of being politically correct, and never letting anyone see anything other than ones' "happy face". Aack! Fake people are worthless people...so you are an inspiration, and are to be admired. Of course you loved your mom, and of course you're thankful for your newfound freedom. You are a human afterall. Emotions simply can't be trusted. They ebb and flow, they come and go, and they change...it's a process. One of my favorite sayings to myself is this, "it is what it is". Accept your feelings and get on with enjoying your life. Yay!!! Oh, and "be thankful, for this is the day that the Lord hath made. Rejoice, and be glad in it". Truth.

Teri said...

A beautiful granddaughter, the circle of life. We all have conflicts while grieving, ask any widow or widower or another person that has cared for an aging parent. It's frustrating for you that you are an unusual case with the "fusing". Prayers and wishes for a good recovery.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Sure glad you are felling better. Now, all you have to do is find baby Dale a Roy to marry. . . (grin)

Karen thisoldhouse2.com said...

Look at those wide open eyes!....

rosek1870 said...

My mom left us on June 22, 2010. There is not a day that goes by that I do not miss her and think of her (and talk to her). But I miss the person she was "before". Before the dementia, the cancer and the old age took over. The morning she died cried and said "Thank God" Wanting to start your life for you is not selfish it is part of life. My cousin is a grief counselor and she says women are biologically programed at our age to want it to be our time. Enjoy it I know our mother's would understand. I remember when my grandmother died my mom felt the same was sad and relieved all at the same time.

I am so glad you are feeling better. I hope all continues to go well so that you can enjoy your time!!

Country Gal said...

I bet after writing this post you feel better . Girl I understand where you are coming from . There comes a part of your life you need to live it for you and no one else take it . Life is not a bowl full of cherries and those who pretend it is are the ones that haven't lived it right ! I am glad you are feeling better after this third surgery and hope it is the last one and you can get back to living your life ! I miss my mum every day to and know they are in our hearts and memories . Thanks for sharing . Have a good week ! Oh and little Dale you are a cutie !

Shuttle, Hook and Needle said...

So glad you are continuing to mend and glad you are sharing with us - your friends - honest feelings.

I miss my mother terribly but I am relieved that I no longer have to leave my home, kids and work to travel to where she lived. She left us too fast to even consider having to take care of her. That makes me sad but we did get to say goodbye.

That sweet little Dale makes sense of life because life does go on and it is up to us to make it worth living.

The Little Black Dog said...

Your granddaughter is so beautiful. I have been reading your blog for about a year now and I love the tender way you write about even the hardest of topics. I am very glad your surgery has gone well, and after 45 years of lovingly caring for others, I say it IS your time to BE - be happy, be pain free, be with your family, be doing whatever bring you joy. Here's to your journey.

Country Girl said...


I can sympathize with your conflicted feelings over the death of your mother. It's perfectly normal after having been a caregiver for so long.

Sending you a {{{hug}}}.

Donna S. said...

Of course you have all different emotions...totally understandable. I hope you have a fast, complete recovery!!! Enjoy some peace & quiet & heal!!!

sandy said...

You've been through a lot in the last 14 months. It's time now that it should be "all about you"...and of course Princess Dale. Life moves on.

sandy said...

You've been through a lot in the last 14 months. It's time now that it should be "all about you"...and of course Princess Dale. Life moves on.

Susan said...

There's absolutely nothing wrong with your feelings. Taking care of an ailing parent is quite the struggle; remembering how they took care of us and wanting to return the gesture. I applaud you for taking that on and hope you can find the comfort that you were there for your mother. Take care, dear friend, XOXO

Janet said...

Sounds like your Nurse Roy is doing his best to keep you moving. I'm so thrilled you are out and about. I may not "know" you, but I certainly admire you for your honesty and spirit. My parents each went through significant personality changes in their last few years, and the only thing that brought me any peace was knowing I did what I could, keeping my promise of no nursing home since I am a nurse. Your granddaughter's arrival couldn't have been better timed. Enjoy your new life.

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Janet said...
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claudia said...

I know what you are feeling about your Mom. I am living with my Dad and doing exactly as you did for your Mom. I love/hate being here. I am excited to get home to see that he has done well throughout the day, but resent the fact that I have to listen to the three televisions on full blast. I have given up more times with my friends than I care to count, because I needed to be home with my Dad for dinner or know that he didn't eat, because I wasn't there. I love that fact that I "know" you. I feel I have a companion in this life I am living. I love that I am doing this and completely understand what you went through. You are a wonderful person, this I know for a fact.
I am saying prayers that you get the life that you deserve from here on out. My hope is that you do nothing but enjoy yourself, your husband, your beautiful daughters and cute, cute, cute grands. And Roy, who could ask for a better nurse?

Terry said...

You could not have done any more and you would not have done any less. That is who you are. You just need to continue being you and keep on kicking ass! There is a lot behind you, but so much more ahead! You go, Girl!

Anonymous said...

So glad that you are feeling better after this surgery!

Of course you miss your mom, and how lucky you (and she) were to see it through to the end for her. But you are right, you deserve a break from taking care of others. Devote some time to yourself! You've earned it.

Sharon said...

I seriously doubt that after all these years as a caregiver, even in your profession, that you're going to be able to turn on an "all about me" switch. I do think you'll feel free from the strains of the past several years, step away from the pressure and guilt, walk Roy - that's good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Princess Dale is just perfect, isn't she alert in this picture.

Your wrestle with conflicted feelings will eventually work itself out, no worries dear lady you have done the right thing each and every time. Don't second guess yourself.

Follow Roy's lead, it won't steer you wrong.

Devon said...

You always did your best to care for everyone in you life... after all the challenges of your mothers later years, the HH and your busy life... it must feel immensely freeing to have minimal HH and no one to care take... other than Roy.

I hope you are able to enjoy this time with your family and the good memories of your mom. You've earned the peace.

thotlady said...

Dale has to be one of the best looking babies I have ever seen.

Carol from MN said...

could she be ever more cute?!?!??!?! i think not.... god made perfection for you all there! Don't worry or stress over the flood of conflict you feel.... you loved your Mom, she loved you.... you did the best you know how and it sounds pretty darn honorable to me! Seize the day, and keep your studio! ;) cuz I am living vicariously through you!

Rita said...

I don't know why human beings think we have to feel one way or another when we normally feel half a dozen things at once...or more! We are tremendously more complex, capable, and interesting than we give ourselves credit for. Like you said--how could you NOT feel all those things?

I am so very happy that you are doing so well this time and already going on walks with your guard nurse. :)

Mrs. Turkey said...

Hilary...after reading your blog this morning....I couldn't get over the feeling you had just jumped in my head and felt all I felt years ago when I had both parents to care for and then after their deaths...an uncle needed some help. So I understand all you said.
So glad you are feeling so well and I so enjoy your scenic walks with Roy.....and that precious baby....she's a doll.
Mrs. Turkey

Kathy said...

Except for the Headache part, you have described so much of my life and put into words how I feel. And, my Mom is still living. But, I do take care of her. Know that you are not alone. And it is, in a big way, comforting that I am not alone.
Your Princess Dale is a beautiful baby! I wish you complete success with your surgery, and a happy life ahead! Just For YOU!

MarthaVA said...

It IS your turn, and there is nothing wrong with that. Your mom lived her life. Your children are living theirs. Live yours, that's why you were put on this Earth. You are one of those people that was put here to care for others, and you spent the better part of your life doing that. Now take as good care of yourself, both physically and mentally, as you have taken care of others in your life.
You deserve it, you earned it. Go do fun things, feel life, do what you love, take time to smell the roses, hug Roy Boy, love your grand babies, and LIVE!

Peg Cherre said...

Ahhh. Life is full of conflicts, difficult decisions, painful choices, and painful situations that are thrust upon us. Fortunately it's also full of joy, peacefulness, beauty, and grace. It is wonderful that you can see both sides, can be 'with' the pain when you need to and rise above it when you can, and can always find something positive to say. You are a truly remarkable woman, Hilary. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts and feelings.

JC said...

Sounds like you are doing great considering. I do hope this recovery continues this way.

Dogs are the best. Mine have gotten me through my three surgeries. It's the weeks afterwards that are the best .. with my dogs. Naps, walks, just being there.

The loss of your Mom will get better. The taking care of and being free. All things that anyone who's done it, taking care of a parent or anyone ill really, goes through.

The missing of what was. The feeling of the freshness of the new.

Small steps and soon all will be better.


Cait Throop said...

It's time to enjoy...and enjoy without pain and guilt. Just be.

Cupcake Murphy said...

I love how you detail your life. Beautiful writing.

Hilary said...

I agree that this is your time. You need not feel guilty about the negative side of those conflicted feelings. It seems to me that you go above and beyond in most everything you do.

Daryl said...

lets hope the 3rd time is the charm ... and i understand how you feel about your mom .. i was in a similar situation ... hugs

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