Ever notice how constricting fatigue can be? For someone as fabu…wait…FABULOUS as me, it can be such a downer and quite frankly, it makes me wanna kick my OWN ass, sometimes. Now, let me be clear, I’m not “lazy”…I’m really just….tired. Aside from being a red carpet dazzler (ok, ok, in my mind…for NOW), I am a full-time caregiver to my brother who happens to be under hospice care here in my home.
I do all of his care and have been for some time. While I think caregiving is a natural gift, it does wear on me because I have not afforded myself enough time for…well, ME. Initially, I whole-heartedly believed that taking time for myself meant taking time AWAY from my brother and it fostered a whole lotta guilt. I mean, how could I be so selfish….right? WRONG.
Even though I’ve been hearing for what seems eons, to take time for me and to first care take myself, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Now don’t you dare think I’m lying or exaggerating when I say this, but, I have NOT had ONE WHOLE day to myself in almost 8 years. Yep, you heard me, 8 years.
You see, my mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer in March of 2006 and I immediately quit my job to look after her and my brother who has Down Syndrome. He was pretty independent in those days which helped me a lot but our mother passed in 2007 and my full on responsibilities with my brother continued…especially since I had no outside family support at the time. We’ve since repaired relationships but during that time, it was ALL on me, and for the most part, still is. I appreciate the emotional support…but it’s still different.
My brother had pneumonia in 2009 and ever since then he’s never been the same, experiencing a consistent decline in one form or another, up until Aug of this year when he went under Hospice. I’ve only been away from him a few hours at a time for errands or the like, but never a day away…or to myself because even if I’m here in the house, I still have to make sure he eats and gets his medicine, not to mention any cleanups that may occur…so forget sleeping in.
I love him more than there are stars in the sky, but I have definitely had my moments when I’ve questioned if I could really go on. Graciously, God continues to renew my supply of love, patience and endurance. Having said all that, fatigue has a way of sometime constricting me, and having been such a vibrant go-getter, it is more than annoying to be at its mercy…and, as with a constricting snake, the more I fight and resist, the tighter it’s hold becomes. DAMMIT!
A victory today for me was, having allowed myself to be here…and do NOTHING more than the ABSOLUTE necessary…well, except that dinner run to Farmer Boy’s…that was laziness…but it was so good and hit the spot.
In not doing anything, I relaxed…my body, but also my mind (for a grand change) and my spirit even seemed to have some peace. My brother has been asleep the bulk of the day, having only eaten once, but I hear him awake now, making sounds and baby coos, as he is my own little Benjamin Button…as he reverts further to an infantile state.
Time to close this post and tend to the greatest test of my life, thus far. This bit of venting has taken some tension out of my shoulders as my fingertips dance and cross over these keys. Thanks for listening, kittens…go have a cookie and some milk.