There are days I hate being the crisis manager, the caretaker, the shoulder for others. There are days when I just want to curl up and cry. I want someone else to manage the crisis, take care of people and be the rock. I want to be the scared one people worry about. I want to be the one unsure how to respond without worry that energy is looking at me.
But the reality is – that is not me.
It is in the moments of silence that this crashes down upon me. It is when I have to keep breathing, keep focused, not to cry. And while my brothers, for example, avoid situations to hang with friends and drink beer – I am here.
Sitting alone in a darkened room with my mom. Listening to the beeps of her IV, the rhythm of the pump massaging her legs from developing clots, the bubbling of the oxygen she is breathing. I get to look at this pale faced, slight of a woman who I tucked in with many blankets battle the demons that morphine seems to bring into her dreams. I get to see the eight tubes connecting her to drains, and pumps, and IVs snake out from the blankets.
And in this silence and with this view, one can’t help but reflect on life – on love – on the pure understanding that our time here is finite and precious. That there is no room for hate, for spats, for misunderstanding among people you love. And there is no room for fear.
While my brothers avoid the situation by removing themselves from it, they are missing the moments. The passing joke she makes between the moments of pain. The story that arises thanks to the morphine. The moments between my mom and my dad where it is clear that after 42 years, they still love each other with a passion I bet existed the day they first met. These are moments fear have kept my brothers from seeing – from understanding why these people are who they are.
While I fear the idea of losing a parent, I know it’s inevitable so I push through it instead of getting wrapped up in it.
Yesterday was a rough day for Mom. There was a lot of just being there. A lot of quiet and dark rooms and encouraging my mom to call the nurse for meds – pain, nausea, the works. Lots of assuring her this is not a set back. Your body seems to need that extra day to real the physical pain it truly went through.
Lots of crisis managing. And my mom requested it just be Dad and me there – “keep the boys away”. So we did. And sat in the silence, watching her, and trying not to let it all crash down.