Ever had that feeling that you have been through something, done something or seen something before... Of course we all know what deja vu is, but other than that quirky feeling of 'I have been here before', have you ever REALLY been through something all over again?
Its never good things that happen over and over again either is it, have you noticed that? Only the bad things, the things that knock us back, push us off course and really mess with our minds. Over and over, like a bad repetitive dream.
Obviously you know where I am going with this, off on a wild rant about something non specific and vague, but with the aim of getting it off my chest. Naturally! So without messing about any more here goes.
Having one close relative of friend die is always tough on you, mentally, emotionally and as I have found sometimes physically too. Illness, depression, anger, and so many other things can crop up when we are going through something close to us. Someone passing is one thing, but someone slowly slipping away it something completely different. As I have said before, the hardest part of coping with a loss isn't so much the actually removal from existence of the loved one, but more the mechanics of how they are removed from our lives.
A tragic accident is short, swift and something we are presented with in a flash, and have to deal with. No choices or chances, just taken, in an instant. Tragic and hurtful, but we tend to move on quite well from these things. Left with only the happier memories of our times together, our mind is at rest.
However the other option is disease. Slow, painful and tragic. Sorry if I offend at this point, but you know I don't like to beat around the bush. Disease takes many loved ones from us all annually. We see them slowly slipping away, weakening, suffering, and fighting with all their strength. But the truth is, once the disease, cancer for example takes hold, the outcome is inevitable.
My journey with mum is very well documented I believe. The hard times, the good times, the fights with condition, and the fights with the family. Each time I read back and remind myself of something that happened, I can recall it with such clarity, it is as if it has just happened.
So having walked the path once, finding myself back on it again now with my aunt should be somewhat more predictable. And I have to say it is. Progress, condition, deterioration etc is no real shock to me, but then again I don't think anything 'unexpected' happened with mum either. I have read enough and seen enough about cancer to understand what it does and how things work.
I dint quite know why, but once again as we reach a pivotal part of the journey, and Joan's condition has taken a bit of a turn, I find myself frustrated. I have always known I would not be able to be there every day, but for some reason it seems to be stressing me out. Having been through a serious bout of depression and anxiety when mum was ill, I know what it feels like to start slipping back in that direction. The same way someone who drinks regularly knows when they are about to lose their legs, I can feel mine starting to buckle a little under me too.
Seeing the signs is one thing, but doing something about it, that's something totally different, and far easier said than done. Slowing down in activity, lacking interest in doing things, removing yourself from social situations, not being able to concentrate, and worst of all, deprived of sleep. All signs that things are not right in the brainbox division. Medication worked wonders last time with a lot of that, but that was never a road I was happy on, and would not be one I would choose to walk again given the choice. Never say never though, right?
Instead, this time I am trying alternatives, getting it off my chest as it arrives (hence blogging now), speaking to people about it, increasing physical activity to naturally release endorphins, and trying to stay social at every opportunity possible. I can only try right. So firstly I apologise, to my friends who I may start to bore with tales of me, me, me. People I may suddenly start talking to a hell of a lot, people on the same wave length as me. If at any time it gets too much, just say.
A lot has changed in my head since mum passed, and I would like to say I have become a stronger, more independent man, who lives in a way I feel I would have mad my mum proud. But I also live in the shadow of doom and gloom, that of Joan being so ill, and ever closer to leaving us. Its not something I shy from, and I think about it every day. Realising responsibilities, thinking of ways to make contact, and make each of her days something enjoyable and special. While at the same time remembering that time is not on our side, and any day could be the last.
Maybe its the not knowing, the uncertainty of time remaining that makes these things so hard. Going back to what I said earlier about the mechanics of a loss. One you were not expecting just happens, before you can blink, think or take another breath its over. With a long term situation you are tortured with wondering how long is left, what else you can achieve, and how you will cope. Twisting and contorting your mind in so many ways, driving yourself crazy trying to cope with something before it has even become reality.
I may sound cold in saying this, it may just be me who thinks it, but I cope far better with the actual death than I do with the build up. Passing is a part of life, a certainty, in my mind once the moment arrives, it passes quite quickly. But in some sort of weird mission to make everything right, when someone is ill, I am driven to do all I can in the situation, play any role I can, and make sure there is nothing left undone or unsaid.
The thing torturing my mind right now is timing. Making sure I see Joan again as many times as possible, and spend as many minutes and hours with her, just making sure all the silly things are done. We talked of having a Chinese takeaway, as she doesn't remember ever having one before, watching programs, discussing quandaries, and making the sort of conversations that delve deep into your mind, and remain there long after the conversation ends. I guess really what I want is memories, but that's natural, right?
You can probably tell by the scatty way this is written that my mind is not quite right at the moment, I certainly can. But I am trying here, trying hard not to let it get any worse. Hopefully next weekend I will see Joan, and clear my mind a little. Some honesty, some openness and some straight talking as ever. Fingers crossed as I re-join the motorway for the drive home, it will be the air rushing through my hair, and not the thoughts rushing through my head that accompany for the journey home.
PS, thank you to Rachel for being there on the phone yesterday when things were getting a little sketchy. x