Guilt and Waking Up at 3 am

Tonight I didn’t answer the phone when my mother called repeatedly from the psych ward at Lakeland.
 
I wanted to have one night this week where we could pretend life was ‘normal’ and not falling down around our heads- so that we could all enjoy Halloween and not spend it crying.
 
She left a ton of messages on my voicemail, each wondering if I knew she was in the hospital.
 
I woke up abruptly from sleep,with this huge sense of dread and guilt weighing heavily upon me. I wouldn’t even call it guilt- it was remorse. Stomach churning, benign neglect of another human being. I have been doing this a lot lately- just to try to save my own sanity- and it makes me ill inside.
 
I could tell that she didn’t remember her previous calls and it scared me. I could clearly hear the panic and confusion in her voice, the not remembering part… and it was heartbreaking.
 
What a difference it was from our visit with R’s 93 year old grandmother tonight! She lives alone and is only a bit forgetful, but otherwise sharp as a tack. It almost served as a painful foil, a bittersweet contrast.
 
My mother is 20 years younger than Nana. This monster that has consumed her entire life, seems to be now eating away at her brain, like pac man.
 
It is hard to distinguish the bipolar, the mental illness, from the dementia- she is so clever and sad and angry and anxious and lonely. She is still HER inside of her core and it is going away bit by bit.
 
Tomorrow, I finally head to the courthouse to apply for guardianship. We had been ill (and I’ve been depressed) since the previous week, so it hasn’t been done yet.
 
If you ask me how I feel, I’d say so sad. I feel as if this is my lot to bear, not because I truly love or respect or even feel like she was or is my parent- but because she is my parent, I have to do this. I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone else.
 
I would never want my children to feel the same apathy that I do about my parents. All of this, including Maisie being born so recently, has given me a second chance to re-examine my relationships with my family, myself, and those around me.
 
Unfortunately, I come up lacking in so many regards, but I know I can fix ME. I can’t fix her or my dad or my siblings.
 
I wish I could make them love me or me them, really.
 
I wish I had a magic wand to fix this for everyone.
 
My only solace is giving my 2 youngest kids the magical childhood- as much as I can- and love that I wish I would have had myself.
 
I thought I felt better today… and I do… but I am kind of upset to have woken up crying at 3 am, sad all over again and typing.
 
The people who know me in real life know that I am not prone to being this weepy mess- so it is really bothering me to feel this raw and exposed.
 
So, like any brave Aquarian would- I’m going to go with it and try to learn to love me and be authentic.
 
If anyone else is going through similar, I want you to know you’re not alone.
 
xo
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