Saturday, January 13, 2018

cancer, guns, holding up, losing patience

Everything that I've been experiencing today ties in directly with why I hate guns. Guns are designed to do one of three things: intimidate, wound, or kill. My father died because he was shot in the head by mugger with a gun. My mother was with him when it happened. She survived it. It was the most tragic thing that has happened to my family. My mother now suffers from dementia. That dementia is made worse by the fact that she never sought psychological therapy after the incident. She dealt with it by trying to pray it away. Just like she tried to "pray away the gay" of her son for many years. She experienced a perpetual cycle of fear, and she never truly got better. She just lost more and more of her memory.

My father, a few months before he was killed, had just survived cancer. He had just retired from his job. They had just moved down to Florida. He was getting ready to enjoy the next stage of his life, with my mom, happily married. It was so short-lived. Why? because some young thief felt he had to respond to my mother's screams by shooting my father in the head with a gun.

I was online looking for a sweatshirt to order for my niece a couple of nights ago. I searched for "young miss hooded sweatshirt, lined, sherpa, with zipper". One of the first hits was a brown sweatshirt fitting each of those search items, but modeled by a young man. The hooded sweatshirt said, "If guns kill people, I guess pencils misspell words, cars drive drunk, and spoons make people fat." I felt sick to my stomach when I read that. GUNS ARE DESIGNED TO INTIMIDATE, WOUND, OR KILL. THAT is the difference. Pencils are designed for writing; cars are designed for transportation; spoons are designed for feeding. The point is not that the person is the problem - that part is obvious. The point is that if someone owns a gun, that gun, in order to be used, will accomplish one of its design goals, meaning, it will either intimidate someone, wound a living being, or kill a living being. Still, these ignorant folks are fed such a bogus argument, and they run with it, mistaking it for legitimate stance, all the while ignoring the safety of the community and the nation and the planet on a much larger scale.

Yeah, so, a gun lead to my father's sudden death, my mother was widowed, and now my husband and/or I spend pretty much every weekend and most every afternoon and evening taking care of my mother. If my father were still around, maybe things would be very different. My parents would be keeping one another company; experiencing things together; maybe enjoying time with their grandkids. Our weekends and weeknights would give my husband and me a chance to enjoy our time together. Maybe I would be playing more music or creating, recording, performing more?

Yesterday, I finally got caught up with work. If I didn't have the responsibility of caring for my mother, I easily would have spent last night and all of today working on music. Instead, I spent the evening supervising my mom in the kitchen, helping her bake a cake, showing her where to put away dry dishes and glasses, and just keeping her company. I know that has value as well. Maybe, one day, I'll really miss those moments with my mom. It's just that when I spoke with my sister over the phone this evening, she asked me, "How are you guys holding up with mom? I know it must be so overwhelming." Honestly, I felt like crying. I'm stressed, I'm overwhelmed. I could tell I was losing my patience with my mom this afternoon. How could I tell, because I've memorized every question, every worry, every concern before she even utters it. 

My mother said to me, (as I was preparing some tea for her and some coffee for me), "You know, I've been thinking..." 

Before she could finish her sentence, I interjected, "I know, you want to go back to your house. You want to live in your own home, which is in another country, to which you want to travel by bus. You want to leave right now. You think you can just call up a friend and have them come stay with you so you can live in your house again. Okay, but the problem is: you cannot live in your home by yourself and there is no one who is in a position to drop everything and look after you 24 hours a day. Plus, your home is in another country. You can't really get there by bus. You can't travel alone, and we tried living in Florida with you, but you hate the day program there and refuse to go. You get depressed when you're there. You only see your friends maybe two times a week. You've almost lit the kitchen on fire twice, and you interrupt us all day long so we can't get any work done."

I look at my mom. She is sad. I feel like a dick, but on the inside, I've just circumvented a 90-minute conversation that I've had about 10 times already just since the end of December.

Dementia is a very challenging disease. Yes, I'm losing patience. I'm holding up, but only because I have no choice. My sister is in no position to take care of my mom; she has three young kids, just recently went back to work, and her mother-in-law is living with her family. My husband and I are in a better position to care for my mom. Problem is, how much longer will we really be able to give her the care and attention that she needs?

When my father died, this is the song I wrote (with my friend and fellow SPOUSE-mate, Dan). Maybe we should have included it on Relocation Tactics? I waited to put it out on Confidence, instead.

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