This is the post excerpt.
About four years ago we made a decision that was to change our lives completely. We suggested to my then 96 year old mother that she comes to live with us. There were sound reasons behind our decision as she was not looking after herself very well and was looking very weak and wobbly. We also felt that her relationship with us was good and vice versa and we would make this work. We really had no idea what we were doing; what we were taking on or how it would affect us.
Growing older isn’t easy and one of the problems that comes with it is a growing sense of unease. Having the AP living with us has helped to accentuate these feelings of uncertainty because we can never relax and truly be ourselves. I am aware of a sense of anxiety inside that threatens to engulf me but I cannot let that happen. Self confidence is being slowly sapped away and I feel frequently that I am living on an emotional razor edge about to tip over into a void.
We are enclosed in this box with this rather dotty old woman whose levels of intelligence have become eroded with old age and in turn we have had to lock away our own emotions as well as our reactions to any given situation. The LSO and I have never argued much in the last twenty years or so, maybe the odd bicker and a bit of sniping but now we cannot let anything go. We have to continually smother our reactions to happenings in our lives and that has included everything whether happy or sad because there is always this shadow looming over us. Tears are shed in private, laughter is not so frequent. There is nothing that can be done about this because it comes with the territory.
I am hoping that with the arrival of Spring these disturbing feelings will go and that they are just the result of the long, grey, wet days of this Winter.
I am still continuing with the 5:2 diet and slowly reducing in size which in itself should help to improve my feelings and hope that given time things can only get better. Sadly the situation with the AP can only get worse but that we will face as it happens.
At least we have our month of personal space looming and we can for a short time to what we want, when we want without making any excuses.
Freedom in twenty days, it can’t come soon enough.
I woke up the other night to find myself wide-awake. It was perfectly quiet apart from the even breathing of the LSO and the gentle swishing noise of the vaporiser. I had been dreaming about bubbles and suspect that it had been triggered by the comment made earlier in the day by a friend who has had an operation which has kept her housebound now for several weeks. She described her existence as living in a bubble and I thought, yes, welcome to my world but while I lay awake I realised my life is slightly different, it is more like being behind a semi transparent, self healing film.
Everything outside is a bit muffled but every now and then something causes a tear in the surface and noise bursts through in the form of a visit or a telephone call. These occasions are hugely welcome and help us to maintain our sanity but they also highlight how our lives have changed since the AP came to live with us. It’s a fact that although it is not the AP’s fault she continually puts pressure on us and we cannot relax and just be ourselves. We can’t even be a bit miserable because that is questioned and with the best will in the world we all have our down moments. Yesterday was a case in point, we were heading out to a friend’s birthday dinner party when the AP asked why we were so miserable. We weren’t miserable just busy sorting everything out, making sure everything was locked, putting dogs in their right spaces, putting lights on, as you do. What the AP forgets is that all she has to do is get ready whilst we have everything else to sort out including ourselves. The evening turned out to be very pleasant and it made a change to be with different people, chatting and laughing.
No moods are helped by the continuing grey damp days. I am sure everyone will welcome Spring as this has been a particularly long, dismal and cold winter. In the meantime we have twenty-five days to go to have a month of no pressure. Well not entirely pressure free because we are putting in a new water tank and boiler and that week will create another set of problems but at least we can solve them without any interruptions from the AP and her multitude of appointments.
Why today? I woke up feeling ok but by the time I had eaten breakfast, washed and dressed I felt under a cloud. The LSO was rather short tempered and irritable this morning so perhaps that has affected my mood. Usually I just shrug it off but not today.
I feel that there is little genuine thanks felt for the amount I/we do for the AP, sounds are uttered but they are forced. They certainly didn’t exist for the first three years of her sojourn with us so I can only put the change down to the impending month away or is it still the threat of a care home. Who knows and I guess we never will understand what goes on in her head.
It makes me realise that the feel good factors are few and far between these days and I just get up to the same old routine day in, day out with no light on the horizon. Our lives have become so predictable and so very boring, doing the same things, going to the same places all because they need to work for the AP. We are in need of a break but I fear that nothing much will change even then unless there is a collective will to do so.
I find myself working around the obstacles that are created by the raft of appointments that the AP insists on having. These break up the days and even control when we eat, leaving little space to do the things I want to do. But what really do I want to do? Curl up in a corner and hope it all goes away? Rush off into the sunset to a desert island? Well, none of those things really, just the freedom to do what I want to do when I want to do it without having anything else getting in the way. Stupid little things such as spending a day without any interruptions sorting the wool box. I suppose that all sounds a bit selfish but I have worked all my life, enjoyed a brief and pleasant interlude of retirement that disappeared the day the AP came to live with us and for the past four years I have watched my life slip away.
Has this wool box become like my mind? It certainly bears a resemblance to it containing much the same jumble of odds and ends. There are half finished jumpers, single balls of wool in a variety of colours and plys, new wool left gathering dust, a mix of knitting needles of all shapes and sizes jumbled in with buttons and stitch holders. There are pattern books and paper patterns stuffed in the bottom of the box too. No wonder I can never find anything. I must sort through it all and perhaps in the process will be able to clear the fog that sits permanently on the outskirts of my mind threatening to invade as it has today.
Roll on April 5th and a month of carefree existence, twenty eight days to go.
Well, perhaps the title is a little misleading. I am attempting to move forward be it in small steps but I do believe that is better than not moving at all or even slipping backwards.
Looking philosophically at everything I am always interested in how there is a balance in everything. It equates I suppose to the fact there are always opposites at work in our lives. Good and evil, Yin and Yan, hot and cold, happiness and sadness, up and down, in and out and many more. I can remember years ago saying to our children that the world has to have these opposites, otherwise we can never experience the good things in life without the bad. But it does seem to be at times extreme and sadly we had the news today that our son and his partner have lost the much wanted baby they were expecting at the end of August. We are all upset at the news and my heart physically hurts for them and it is difficult to see any reason for all this. There are few words that express all our feelings, all we can do at times like this is keep the love alive and believe in the future.
I need to adopt the same attitude to the AP as she is being more and more irritating as April approaches. I do feel this is probably a sub-conscious reaction to the fact that she is going away for a whole month and will not be able to try to manipulate or dominate us for that time. I have been particularly careful to only do things that I want to do and I am avoiding issues that are contentious as well as ignoring the bullying tactics the AP employs to attempt to try to rule the household. I guess this could be contributing to her attitude at the moment.
The arrival of little Lucie in our lives has been a great experience, she is a remarkably bright puppy and is a delight to have around and even the benign Barney is beginning to settle to the fact that she is here to stay. Puppies are hard work but her presence has taken the focus off the AP and this has really helped the LSO and myself to cope and put strategies in place to keep the AP firmly in her place. She is having to take a back seat which is where she should have been in the beginning and although manoeuvring around the AP’s needs and the puppies needs can be difficult and at times demanding, it is definitely possible.
On another positive note I can report a weight loss of six and three-quarter pounds in two weeks whilst following the 5:2 diet. There is no noticeable change in shape, well I can’t see it but the weight has definitely reduced and I am delighted. I don’t find the regime difficult and in some ways actually enjoy the fast days knowing that I can eat well but reasonably for the other five days. Long may the reduction continue.
I must tackle the wool box, it is time to start knitting again.
The LSO and I are in a strange place at the moment and I am dealing with a raft of mixed feelings and emotions. The new puppy arrived on Friday to much excited barking from Barney and much squeaking from Lucie but that didn’t last long as her feisty little character popped out and she barked back. I don’t know who was more surprised, us or Barney.
In the meanwhile the arrival of Lucie has put the AP’s nose firmly out of joint as she really is an adorable little scene stealer. The AP’s way of dealing with it all is to make a point of not listening to anything that is said to her and to talk over us when we reply to her questions so she doesn’t hear the answers. It’s a real catch 22 as we have to ask her to stop talking and listen which makes her instantly bad tempered and unpleasant. The thin veneer of niceness disappears in a blink and anything or anyone is responsible for her own failings but never her.
It also looks as if the third grandchild due in August will not happen but that is another situation which has deeply saddened us all. Not of course the AP, she has lost the ability to understand the depth of the problem and can only relate to those things that directly impact on her.
Our daughter arrived for a flying overnight visit yesterday despite the appalling weather conditions and I cooked Sechuan beef but that meant creating a separate meal for the AP who cannot cope with the chilli heat. Not too difficult to do, I just had to make a separate sauce and use the same vegetables and fillet of beef. But because we were all chatting and a great fuss was made of both the dogs it meant the AP was not the centre of attention so she didn’t eat and just pushed her food around the plate. I felt a real sense of irritation, why did I bother, in fact why do I bother at all? It is such a thankless task and meanwhile the LSO and I just see our lives slipping away in a sea of monotony.
She did manage to have a glass of wine with the meal and a very small glass of Vermouth with lemonade beforehand but then decided to go to her room. This morning she was particularly demanding and probably not feeling one hundred percent but it is never a good plan to drink any alcohol and not eat. I don’t deal at all well with the AP’s mood swings in the mornings so I just let her get on with it all.
However Lucie continues to be a real joy and a breath of fresh air in the claustrophobic and frustrating environment that has become our world.
I have no idea why I feel so uncomfortable with myself. Yes, there are worries in the background but not things that should cause this sense of discomfort. I can only put it down to the fasting day and the fact I have a sore throat or could it just be a change in the weather affecting me. From feeling quite Spring-like it is once again heading towards freezing with the chance of snow looming.
The diet so far, is going well and in only nine days I have lost three and a half pounds and hopefully, tomorrow I should be lighter still. I have a long road to travel but I am finding this new 5:2 diet surprisingly easy and it has a real feel-good factor about it.
Even the AP’s continued refusal to remember she is away for a month from the 5th April is not irritating me. Nor is the ridiculous situation that arises whenever a perm is in the offing, causing me any grief. Perhaps I am just becoming more accepting of the situation and more immune to her carping. In fairness the AP has been a great deal pleasanter to have around but that could be because she is shut in her room much of the time ardently watching the snooker which fortunately for us is continuous now until she goes away.
Tomorrow is also Puppy Day when we collect little Lucie and it will be interesting to see Barney’s reaction to his new partner in crime; hopefully it will be a positive one. The puppy will be feeling a little lost to begin with but I am sure she will settle down pretty quickly.
Perhaps it’s all this change taking place that is affecting me, I have become unused to being so pro-active and busy planning things, not just doing the boring same old, same old. I have even been out and about in my car and ventured into a supermarket but that doesn’t mean I have given up on home deliveries I was merely helping out a friend who needed the pharmacy section!
But it’s all steps in the right direction.
Is this truly the start of a real transformation? I completed the first fast day and will do the second one tomorrow but today and yesterday I didn’t feel the urge to snack during the day. Is a miracle taking place?
I even find myself contemplating with enthusiasm salads, high protein meals plus vegetables, fruit and only a few carbs. I haven’t approached the knitting box yet but that will happen. We are getting a new puppy at the end of next week and the preparation is taking up a surprising amount of time. Perhaps all this is the reason for this apparent sea change.
There is no doubt that as the time to collect this sweet little Jack Russell approaches we are all smiling more, even the AP is looking forward to the new arrival but the organisation is a bit like the homecoming of a new baby, well that’s a bit of an exaggeration perhaps. It’s certainly not as expensive.
Bad enough though from organising a gate for the bottom of the stairs to new car boxes, a playpen, toys, pee-mats, heat pad for bed, tiny harness, collar and lead, Adaptil plug to keep us all calm to sundry other soft cuddly items; the list seems endless. The LSO is busy sorting the dog cupboard out which is groaning under the weight of adult dog food and now puppy food and a variety of sugar and fat free treats. The LSO may need colour coded bags for the different training treats when out walking although the new addition will not be trekking as far as the resident JR for a little while. It will certainly be interesting to see how our lovely even tempered ten year old Jack copes with this new arrival.
Anyway, all in all its an interesting time and just to make things better the sun shone today and what a difference it makes to everything. It has been a good time to start the diet.