Is it possible that all the horrible things you’ve done have been forgotten by everyone-except yourself?

This is how I  feel sometimes… and ‘sometimes’ comes a lot.

Have you ever heard the saying, you are your own worst critic? If that fits you then join the club.

I wouldn’t say I’ve made many mistakes in my life that warranted regret, ongoing misery or guilt; however there are choices I have made that I stress about or feel guilty about when no one else around me seems to care.

Am I crazy?

Why do I feel like I need to punish myself if no one else seems to be affected or bothered by it? Apparently misery is my closest friend…

Sometimes I wonder if the selfish prideful voice whispering in my head is Satan, other times I think it must just be my sinful, human nature… either way I wish I could perform some sort of magical exorcism and vanish these thoughts from within me.

As we speak I am counting my 86 year old grandfather’s respiration’s and watching his ankles swell up with fluid as he drifts in and out of consciousness….

This is the grandfather who didn’t just remodel his retirement home but his retirement “life” so that he and his wife could take on the responsibility of raising my brother and I.  The grandfather who would wink and raise his bushy eyebrows up and down until his ears would wiggle while we sat at the dinner table.  The grandfather who told intense stories of his rich past and life experiences, packed full of corny jokes (“Connecticut humor” my grandmother calls it).  The grandfather who would slip me some money to go out with friends or sign field trip permission slips even though he knew grandma just grounded me or told me “no.” He would smile and kiss me on the cheek and make me feel like not everything I did was wrong.  The grandfather who kissed all my boo-boo’s and built me the most beautiful three story purple and white doll house from scratch.  The grandfather who let me sit on his lap late at night to watch Murder she Wrote, Alfred Hitchcock movies and cheesy British comedies like Waiting for God. The Grandfather who taught me to play card games like 21 when I was in elementary school and later taught me how to master 5 card draw and Texas Hold’em (we played with peanuts instead of money).  The grandfather who always has some sort of candy stash somewhere in the house because Grandma nags him to eat healthier,  but he knows how to sneak snack food in behind a blind woman’s back. lol The grandfather who is melted by one smile and kiss from a baby, The grandfather who snored so loud the whole house rumbled, the grandfather who could have paid money for anything but taught my brother and I not everything was worth buying… earning it, or building it yourself is sometimes EVEN better.

Watching the man who raised me essentially fall apart and deteriorate to the point of drifting in and out of conciousness is heartbreaking.  I know where this path is going to lead and my prayer; my sincere, soul shattering prayer is that he reaches a peaceful death before coming to the end of this path.

I have dropped everything to care for them.  I say “them” because my grandmother is blind, and literally in every aspect is lost without her soul mate of 65 years. I believe, and even they have confirmed that they are both more comfortable having family come in and care for them than strangers, and for as long as I can make this possible … I will. 

Lately I have been hearing these selfish thoughts… wishing I could go back to my old routine, wishing I could spend more time with my kids, missing my bed, my husband, my tv… my life. My husband tells me this is more important and that I will always have time with he and the kids, but my time with my grandfather is limited; words of wisdom from the man I love.  It is just a struggle to feel obligated to be in two places at once, and to not beat yourself up for choosing one over the other. I know this is the right decision, but I still struggle with those selfish thoughts…

And then I look at him; eyes half closed, glasses falling off his nose, hair sticking every direction because he hasnt had a shower in days, oxygen tubing pulling at his big “French Family” nose, his chest rising and falling so intensely its not even worth the little amount of oxygen that is actually getting into his body.  His lungs are filling with fluid, along with his arms, hands, feet, and legs.  Soon he will need to be pushed from Point A to Point B in a wheelchair and not walk on his own, his strength is disappearing along with the amount of the day he spends coherent and in conversation. Then just as I think I cant feel any more sorry for myself and full to the brim with selfish thoughts, he looks at me and says ” I hope I dont last much longer…”

Nothing pulls me out of my own selfish thoughts than the hard cold reality that HE is the one dying. HE is the one suffering and wishing his life could go back to what it was.HE is the one who deserves the respect and dignity of having family care for him in his last days. HE gave me everything, and the least I can do is give him this. The least I can do is set my selfish desires aside and Love him the way he Loved me. To give him this is worth all the change and disruption to my “life”. I can always go back to who I was and what I did..but I can’t always get this time back.

2 Replies to “sometimes its tough.”

  1. My heart is hurting for you having to go through this. Reading this brought thoughts of my own grandpa and his corny jokes that I had to watch deteriorate and pass away. I miss him desperately. I don’t think you’re selfish for being pulled in two directions. No matter what thoughts you’re having, the physical action you are choosing is what’s right, and that’s what counts. You are such a giving person, Rabecca–that you would choose to put aside your own personal preferences and be there for the one that needs it most is noble. I’m sure that the time you’re spending with him is not taken for granted. He seems like the kind of man that would be appreciative of what you’re doing, and selfless enough to wish he wasn’t taking you away. I’ve been praying for you and will continue to do so. Miss you my friend, keep persevering.

  2. wow rabecca…. that is beautifully written. and all very natural human feelings. u have every right to wish your life was back to normal and full of your routine. watching the man who raised you die is one of the hardest things you will ever do but you will never ever regret being there for him when he needs you. i speak from experience having lost both my parents. you are definatley doing the right thing and the kids will respect you more for it. my thoughts are with you guys during this time.

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