Cancer screwed me over. It wasn’t even my cancer and I hate to claim it as the source of some of my problems but it’s still true. I’m not the brave one who fought cancer and survived. I’m the innocent bystander.
Looking after Mom was the hardest thing I had to do in my life. Yet. Watching that strong and independent woman becoming smaller and less vibrant every day was torture. I was too young. She was too young. It was not supposed to happen that way.
The thing is, I can’t do that again. Not yet and maybe never. I hide my fluffy marshmallow interior behind a wall of supposed not-caring and sarcasm because that’s playing it save 101. It’s about not getting wounded again.
When Mom was deteriorating, I tried to not spend time with her outside of what was necessary. I’m a giant hypocrite, I know that but I couldn’t look at her; be with her; see her like that. I took my distance which was probably one of the worst things to do to her but it was the only way I knew how to survive. And now I’m seeing it again.
I was maybe 8 years old when I promised my Gran she would never have to go to a retirement home because I would take care of her. Silly Mini!Me. I would do a LOT for this woman, almost everything but at the same time I know I can’t do all of this again. I can’t watch the next closest person to my heart vanish. It’s not yet imminent but we’re getting there.
Slowly but steady.
Maybe it were different without the cancer that was. Maybe if 2012 had never happened…but that’s a foolish way to think because those things did happen. They are now part of me and I have to carry them around every day.
I should really, really do something but I can’t. I can’t clean for her because I know the way I clean isn’t the way she wants it. Years and years of growing up with her have taught me that she wants things done immediately and in her way and I can’t guarantee the first and know I can’t do the second. I can only do it my way and really, I don’t want to. It’s different when there is a hired help to complain about. It would only strain our relationship.
This shouldn’t be my concern. What do I have an uncle for? It’s his mother, she is only my grandmother. But I’m the closest to it all. I see it all. He comes by a couple of weekends each year and she doesn’t even want his help. I drop by a couple of times each week. I’ve visited her in the hospitals over the last 2 years. There were more hospital stays that I would like to remember.
And when he tries, he fails on the grandest scale. Like suggesting her a retirement home that is so upscale and pricey that it was clear from the beginning she wouldn’t even consider it. This thing happens again and again. I know I should have said something when he was here for Christmas but I was also so annoyed with him that I couldn’t bring myself to spend more time than necessary with him.
I love my grandma with everything that I have but her declining health makes me retreat to a 5 year old version of myself who sticks her fingers in her ears to not hear anything. I want to live on the sweet side of oblivion, where I can pretend none of this is happening. This is beyond dumb but I also can’t bring myself to do anything else. As always I do what is asked of me but I don’t volunteer. I hate myself a little bit for it but at the same time I know I can’t. Not again. No just yet.