I Feel Sad

It’s been a strange week of talking to Dad on the phone about MS, Mom, how we are dealing with it, how we are handling it. There is a lot of frustration, a lot of questions, a lot of sadness. I think the main question that keeps coming up is “Why?” Why is this happening to us? Why was our family chosen to deal with this? Why doesn’t Mom want to try harder to fight this? Why can’t Mom improve like other people we hear about who have MS? Why is this so hard on my parents? Why does Dad have to be dealing with this along with everything else? Why.

We want to know why because this journey we are on with MS is painful. It is painful to watch and painful to live. Today was painful. I called Mom as I usually do on my lunch break around noon and she answered. She sounded a little out of it. I tried carrying on a conversation with her but felt like I couldn’t get her to focus. She asked me a question or two but I knew she wasn’t really listening to my response. Twice I couldn’t even understand what she was saying because her words almost sounded slurred. She said she was laying down and it seemed like she was literally dozing off- so I got off the phone. The conversation hurt me. It hurt me because it shines a bright reality light into my eyes that Mom very much has MS and she is actually not getting better. It’s easier for me to not focus on MS when I can call Mom and we can chat somewhat normally…when she is having a good day. But today was not a good day and with that comes the reminder of the pain of this disease for all of us. Mom is changing. It is reality.

I called Sister K to tell her about this and Sister K told me she was sorry and that Mom was probably tired. She seemed a bit frustrated because she felt I was seeking more of a response from her…I honestly wasn’t. But when I got off the phone I was left wondering what did I want? Why had I called Sister K to share this with her? She can’t fix it and make it go away…did I secretly want her to? Or did I just want to tell someone what had happened because I felt sad. I didn’t feel angry; I wasn’t asking why me; I just felt sad.

It is one thing to talk to Dad about Mom’s decline but it is another to experience it. It feels even bigger to experience it all alone on the phone. I was surrounded by people walking on the streets, yet I felt all alone. I think the person I really wanted to talk to was Mom and I was painfully realizing in many ways, at that moment, she wasn’t there.

Have you ever been surrounded by people yet feel all alone? Have you ever called someone after something tough but not really understanding why you called them at all? Do you experience moments where the light of a reality you try to conquer is shined brightly in your face?

The Cards We’ve Been Dealt

On December 23, Sister K, Mom and I all headed to the mall…Husband and Dad headed to the movies together. It was girl time/best friend time/mother-daughter time/all of the above. We were done with our holiday shopping but went to enjoy the sales, soak up the frenzy of the pre-Christmas chaos and spend time together.

As I was there I saw other families together, other mothers and daughters but for the first time I didn’t feel the instant twinge of jealousy I used to feel. Sure Sister K and I pushed our Mom around the mall instead of walking beside her…but instead of focusing on the differences between our Mom and other Moms…I just focused on being with Mom. We had a wonderful day. We wandered around, in and out of the stores, showing Mom things, trying clothes on, stopping to grab something to eat, and to insert a line from a familiar Christmas tune “laughing all the way.” It was a special time and the perfect way to leave the cares of my life behind and become focused on being home with my family for Christmas.

I felt very blessed by the relationship I have with Mom and Sister K. I felt blessed that I “wanted to go home to spend time with them” as I listened to people complain about being home with their parents for holidays. Instead of thinking of the frustrating cards we have been dealt with Mom’s MS I thought about the good cards I have been dealt with my family. I am learning to take all the cards I’ve been dealt, the good and the bad, and to make it work. And if it means taking turns pushing Mom around the mall in her wheelchair, sometimes having some minor issues with navigating through doors, and sometimes taking up too much space- I’ll do it. I’ll do it because as I sit here today I don’t remember those things, I just remember the time spent with Mom.

So a week after Christmas and with the holidays behind, here are some pictures of
Sister K and Mom “rolling” around the mall:

Enjoying the lights of the season

Enjoying the lights of the season

Avoiding the cobble stones to the left- we learned Mom isn't a fan

Avoiding the cobble stones to the left- we learned Mom isn’t a fan

We also learned Mom's wheelchair doubles as shopping bag storage

We also learned Mom’s wheelchair doubles as shopping bag storage

Did you do anything special with your family over the holiday season? Do you ever focus on the negative cards you’ve been dealt and overlook the positives in the process? Does anyone else enjoy going to the mall to enjoy the pre-Christmas chaos or are you among those still doing last minute holiday shopping up until Christmas Eve?

A Scatterbrained Friday

I forgot to put on eyeliner this morning. I am not sure how exactly one does that, but I did.

I am also planning to leave straight after work to head home to visit Mom and Dad- and when I got to work I realized I had forgotten my make-up bag for the weekend.

Why do both of these instances involve make-up? I don’t know. I could dig and try to find some philosophical reason or I could just explain that I think I am on the brink of losing my mind.

So with that said, I don’t have too much else to say today. I feel a little scatterbrained so I felt like writing a scatterbrained post to reflect this. I also feel a bit like I am two people right now- on the outside I am the person who appears to have it all together, upbeat, life is going great…inside I am the opposite of every part of that. I told Mom that on the phone today. She said it will be good to come home and just “be” at home. She is probably right. Mom’s do have some magical way of making things better. I don’t know how, maybe they learn it in “Mom School” where I also believe every Mom becomes an expert in the official “Mom look” (you know, the look your Mom gives you that means you are in trouble but you are in public so she can’t address it right now). Hopefully a weekend at home helps knock some things back into perspective or at least just gives me a little break.

I apologize for this post that is clearly all over the place. I was racking my brain for something to write about but thought I’d just see what came out. Do you ever experience days where you feel all over the place and out of sorts? Do you think forgetfulness can be related to stress? Do you believe in my theory of “Mom School”? Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Hope for a Minute

I am having a tough week. Well more like a tough couple of weeks. It puts things into perspective because there was a time when this had to do with Mom’s MS and today my tough time has nothing to do with Mom’s MS. I suppose there is a silver lining in this. I wish I could take a break from “finding the silver lining” but that’s life.

I was talking to Dad yesterday and said I just feel hopeless. I feel like I have hoped and been optimistic and I am worn out. He gave me some good advice. He said don’t consider hope to be something you have to do forever. Just focus on the next hour and say, for the next hour I am going to be hopeful. When that hour is up you can go back to being down or can try another hour. Take it a minute at a time, an hour at a time, a day at a time and work up to feeling hopeful all the time.

I have to admit it is sort of working. Right now I am in increments of minutes. I’ve made it to about 5/10 today before I have my negativity resurface. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

How do you stay hopeful/optimistic when life seems to be leading you any way except positively? Have you ever tried to incorporate changes into your life on a smaller level to combat being overwhelmed? What is a positive escape when you need a “life break”? This is your weekly reminder- Dancing With The Stars is tonight! Let’s go Team Lachey- get out the reality tv vote tonight so he can live to see another week of dancing!

I believe in…

I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in the power of a Mother’s love.

One of the greatest blessings I have is my Mother. This is also one of the reasons I struggle with this disease that is impacting her life so strongly. But I also know beyond the walker and beyond the MS, at the core of who she is, she is my Mom.

Today I am kind of down. I called Mom to express these various reasons with her. It was instinctive really. I felt down, I needed to talk, I called Mom. I called her as I was walking to church on my lunch hour. We talked and she listened. She encouraged and through her voice I felt the presence of her love. Her ability to somehow help me know everything will be alright. I then went to church and prayed. 40 minutes after the start of my lunch hour I felt better. I felt uplifted and I had a more positive perspective.

The Lord gives us Mothers for a reason. I also know he gave me my specific Mom for a reason too. Today I put the two hand in hand, leaned on both of them and this afternoon I feel like everything is going to be okay. My problems aren’t solved, but I do have greater peace of mind. A greater piece of mind I hope to continue and reflect on during this long weekend.

Who or what helps you through a tough time or a tough moment? Who do you call when you need to talk? Wishing you a safe, relaxing and happy holiday weekend!