When it hurts, it hurts
I am hurting. The pain is radiating from my heart and spreading down to the tips of my fingers and toes. It feels as if my hair aches and my finger nails are digging into me. This pain and grief feels familiar, common but also unfamiliar. I have not bathed in grief for a long time.
It has come slowly over the past few days, creeping up on me, when I felt the first wave hit me, I imagined seeing the grief in the distance, hoping to avoid it, skip around it or bury it deep down but as I stepped closer and closer it became evident that I was not going to be able to any of that. I was heading straight for it. The signs were right there, my attempts to ignore it have seemingly made it worse.
Martha being sick was the trigger. An alzheimers sufferer who becomes physically ill is like putting together a puzzle with no picture. I stumble and fall through her symptoms, I feel helpless and hopeless. I feel sad and overwhelmed by the responsibility I hold but even just the thought of having to have her in full time care breaks my heart, I start to feel unbalanced by it all. I feel inadequate, a symptom many carers experience. I start to feel angry at the injustice and then when I cannot contain all of the emotion I feel the loss.
I feel the loss of my Dad and as I hold a water bottle to Martha’s mouth, I feel the loss of my Mother. I hold back the tears that well as I watch her sip water like a child, I stroke her forehead and tell her I love her. I long to tell her how much pain I am in, I want to share my sadness with her but I hold it in, I hum to her as her eye lids droop and she finally falls asleep. I lay and watch her for a while and when I know she is truly asleep I move myself out of the room, into the quietness of night and let the pain and grief drown me. Tears flood, my heart aches. My attempts at distraction are fruitless, I must experience this pain.
I know now that it will pass, it will not stick to me forever, I will move through it. When you first experience this pain it is as if you will be stuck here forever, but now as I sit in all my painful glory I know that it will leave me, or perhaps this time I will be strong enough to leave it. For now, I will experience the pain, learn from the pain and eventually I will leave the pain behind.