Being Present for My Son by Robin Gorman Newman
My father, 93, suffered a series of strokes, and after two weeks in the hospital is now at an acute rehab facility/hospital getting therapy, etc.
It's really hard and sad to see him so compromised and to have to work so hard toward some semblance of recovery.
I find myself some days waking up in a funk and going to bed with a feeling of unease. I know my father wouldn't want that....but I'm questioning the future. Stroke is just so cruel. Where is he going with all this? I miss what he was...my strong, gregarious dad.
I also know what he would want is for me to be the best possible mother to Seth. I have always considered myself a somewhat playful mom....but of late....my spirits aren't the highest. This week, after I gave a rousing greeting to our cockatiel Smokey, Seth commented how I don't use that tone of voice with him.
I felt badly, but was also grateful that he was able to express how he felt. I explained that I have used that voice with him but these days I'm sad over grandpa, and working to recover myself from a bad knee injury, so my emotional and physical plate feels overflowing. He understood, but what kids do so well is to live in the moment. And while he grasped what I said, his goal was to have his chipper mom back, and I' struggling to find that voice.
A wise friend of mine pointed out that these are Seth's childhood years, and yet he's spent a decent chunk of time in hospitals seeing my dad through various health scenarios. It's a lot for a child, though Seth is a trooper and always manages to find medical equipment that peaks his curiosity. No doubt he'd much rather be at a laser tag place, for example, but he has learned that there are things we do in life that aren't always easy and pleasant, especially for people we love...and he does love my father. But, I have to make it clear to Seth that he is a priority too, since my father's matters often become more urgent. That's the nature of living the sandwich generation life and one of the big challenges of later motherhood.
I just need to find some pleasure and downtime in the every day, despite my fear, concern, uncertainty, overwhelm, etc...but how to do that? It's not easy for me. I know that this too shall pass, as my beloved mom always said, and I know that no one lives forever. But, I didn't see this coming for my dad. I'm not saying this is the end for him, but life as he knew it, and we all did, changed in the blink of an eye. He's tired. We're all tired.
I guess all I can do at the end of the day is the best that I can do...whatever that is. Be present for him. My son. My husband. My friends. My sibling. And myself. And, if I need a good cry, let it out.