On a recent trip away I got the chance to listen to what I needed. To listen to what would best serve Martha and I as we continue on our journey. As I listened, wrote, cried, breathed and laughed I discovered the power of letting go. I, for the first time in almost two years gave myself permission to let go. To let go of the grief, to let go of the sadness and to let go of Martha. As I explored the depths of my soul I realized the best way for me to serve Martha was to not hold on to her as if she was my Mother all the time. I had to make the conscious decision to pick and choose when she was my Mama and when she was the woman I was caring for.
As I write this and reflect it may seem cruel to have to think of Martha as two different people, but in order to keep moving forward in our journey this is a necessary step for me. As of late, Martha’s ability to communicate with the world is becoming more and more difficult. She is reverting to a more physical manner of dealing with things, biting, scratching, pinching, hitting. None of these pleasant, but none unmanageable. I am much stronger than her, much bigger than her and I am able to communicate. Recently as she took a bite of me, angry and frustrated. I let go of my Mother and embraced this woman who I was caring for. I told her it wasn’t nice for her to bite me, but apart from that I did not react, I did not resist. I let her bite me until she tired, and then we moved forward. She achieved what her brain thought she needed and I remained calm and able to function. Previously I have reacted. I have yelled, screamed, fought back. It has been unpleasant. I have ended up with a broken heart and a few serious scars. But this time as I let my Mama go and embraced my Martha I felt able to nurture and keep Martha safe. More than that I was able to nurture and keep myself safe too.
In other ways I have had to let go too, usually if Martha does not want to go out I have not gone out. I have been largely dictated by Martha’s needs and wants, in the same breath she has been dictated by my needs and wants as well. But as she fussed and fought with me about not going out one particular evening. I let go, I was going out. I secured the house, let the neighbors know, wrote my name and phone number on her arm, left her food and left. When I returned home three hours later Martha was in bed, in her PJ’s fast asleep. The house was not a mess, it was not burnt down and Martha was not hurt. I climbed into bed, turned off the lights and slept soundly. I had successfully let go. I, for the first time in a long time, put my heart first.
Caring for my Mama, for my Martha is not easy. It is also not the hardest thing either. If you resist it, it’ll be cruel to you, if you let it in, it’ll be magic!!