Dementia · Family · Life

CAUTION: Messy Feelings Ahead

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, mkay?


I feel like I’ve been spending all of my time lately trying not to scream, or trying not to cry.

I am tired of celebrating when Elias poops in the potty. Seriously, kid. You know what we want. You know how to do it. Do we really need a ticker tape parade every time it happens? This is going to end eventually. Why not now? I know he’s three and he can’t really help it. I’m still tired of it.

I am tired of medical appointments. I resent the doctors (pulmonary! orthopedic! ophthalmic! oh my!) for making us come in all the time. I am aware that this is not logical, because they are trying to help, but there it is.

I am tired of hearing about how my mom gets food stuck in her teeth every time she eats anything. ANYTHING!! Except maybe soup. This never used to happen, because she used to chew on the right side of her mouth, except those back molars on the right side are gone now, and she has to chew on the left side, and she always gets food stuck in her teeth. ALWAYS! Maybe there’s something the dentist can do about it, and she just can’t wait until she can get there. I can recite this off the top of my head because I have heard it literally hundreds of times. My sister and I have been counting. It’s one of the ways we’re trying to amuse ourselves so we don’t both lose our minds. The other night at dinner we had country ribs and mashed potatoes, and Mom said it nine times. (I only heard seven because I stepped out into the garage for a couple of minutes and missed two. Sorry, seester.) I know she can’t help it either, but that doesn’t make me feel any less like screaming.

And now I am sad, too, because we got the news over the weekend that my father-in-law’s kidneys are failing. I am a layperson and not an expert on kidneys, but I am pretty sure that this means that sometime in the not-too-distant future, Paul is going to lose his dad. And my boys are going to lose their grandpa. They’re still so little. I am sad for that, and … I think maybe I am grieving my own father a little bit again, too. Because they never got to know that grandpa at all, and that is a shame.

And while I am being irritated and weepy and bananas about all of these things, life goes on. I can’t get off the endless treadmill of laundry and dishes and work e-mails and family logistics just because I’m cranky.

All of those bits up there where I said various people can’t help it? All true. Which means I get to be the grownup. I am tired of being the grownup. I would like to have a temper tantrum and lay on the floor and cover my ears and scream. But that would not be productive. And I am a grownup, so I have to care about that.

Oh my friends. I am a mess.

In my head I think all the messy, unworthy things I am feeling are probably normal. But I still have guilt about feeling them. Good mothers aren’t supposed to want their children to go away. Good daughters aren’t supposed to want to tell their mothers to shut up about their teeth already. I mean, right? (And just for the record, I haven’t told Mom that. Not that she’d remember if I had. Sigh.)

I am trying to practice good self-care. I am making time to get in exercise, and the other day I took a long, hot bath. I started a gratitude journal, and every day I write down three things that I am thankful for. (This week, I’ve said “warm house” and “enough food” at least three days in a row, because I’m having trouble with the gratitude thing right now. Did I mention I’m a mess?)

And I’ve been listening to a song over and over and over. Partly because it’s doing me a lot of good and partly because Levi begs for it on repeat, and it’s a lot easier on the ears than, say, the Veggie Tales in the same dosage. It’s Love Restores by Shine Bright Baby, and you should go right out and buy their album, because it’s a great song and they’re pretty cool themselves. (Disclaimer: I know the lead singer and her husband a little. But – total frankness – I’m not usually a huge CCM fan, and I really like this song, so that’s saying something, kids.) Anyway. Part of the song says this:

His love restores, His words are true
What this world breaks, His hands make new

And on days like today when I am having trouble believing that’s true – even though I desperately want to – it’s comforting to know that someone else does believe it. And has wrapped it all up in a beautiful song that my son and I can agree to listen to on repeat, all the way to Akron.

5 thoughts on “CAUTION: Messy Feelings Ahead

  1. Love you Carol….these are normal feelings. But that doesn’t make it any easier in the moment. The cold and lack of sun around here don’t help. Hang in there and maybe we should plan to get together for a good meal a little more often….having grown ups to talk to helps. A lot.

  2. Awww… Carol, I know what you are going thru. At least it sounds familiar to me. When I was a mom with little ones I felt crazy often! It just doesn’t stop, all the craziness. But I have to say it all went by so quickly when I look back. That doesn’t help I know when you are in the middle of it. I too had a difficult time during the winter months and had to get some medication for that. I couldn’t have gotten thru it without my faith and my prozac! God bless you sweetie. Will keep you in my prayers.

  3. Wow. What a powerful and beautifull blessing. You have expressed your anguish, your anger, your fears, and your love so completely and come out the otherside still whole and hopeful. Bless you, I’ll send thoughts of strength and hold you in the light.


  4. Oh, you put me back a “few” years!! I wish I could have put it into words like you do. Now, I see my own kids going through the same things and I pray….(I also understand myself better and think I shouldn’t have been so hard on myself!)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.