I wanted to blog last night, as my head was swirling with so many thoughts in every direction… but I was physically and emotionally exhausted from the day so perhaps all the words won’t come that filled my mind yesterday.
Yesterday I spent the day trying to sort and clean the home of a man who had committed suicide about a month ago.
I don’t know what items may have been cleared by anyone else who may have entered the home prior to me… it struck me though that dying is such a raw, vulnerable moment for humans. People see everything…. everything you had in your home, what your habits were, what kind of cleanliness you kept… they get to pick up your pieces… in some ways it felt like I was a salvage rat – because I would see this or that and think, “ooh, we could use that”. A lot of it will get donated, I know we could use some of the items… But I am also reflecting now how a lifetime of work, investment, or a few moments of shopping just simply go on to the next person and perhaps they don’t appreciate what went into that item or who that item belonged to.
Death usually isn’t an easy item for me to ponder on too much (I imagine it’s not an easy item for most anyhow). I have thought about how close I came to death in the past, as well as the times I’ve felt drawn to that ending in life. I am glad I’m past that (seemingly so, at least). It’s been hard that this topic has come up in conversation between Dv and me… about what he would be willing to do should certain issues arise in his personal life. I haven’t accepted his words really, but know I have no say in the matter. And it makes me ponder if I would seem selfish for wanting people to keep me around if I was beyond hope in certain circumstances… I guess even though I was previously (selfishly) ready to face death on my own terms, I actually fear it and all that comes with it.
I’ve pondered how aging puts burdens on people – sometimes on people you love, sometimes on strangers who know nothing about you and you have to be vulnerable with them to care for you (even if they have no compassion or heart for what they are doing). Vulnerability and neediness sucks, perhaps because I have seen a decline (in my personal circles of people) who genuinely seek to care for, to be present and a help for their family as they age. But who is to say that my life and need for care outweigh their need to have their routines and home life interrupted and burdened? I imagine this dredges up the age-old problem I have with self worth and value – I assume that I won’t be of value to anyone in the years to come that would make it worthwhile for them to take me in, or to provide personal care over putting me into assisted living.
I fear incontinence and the issues that surround it. I fear not being mobile enough to get around on my own. I fear being a position that someone would have to bathe or clean me in various ways. I fear being “too much” to handle and fear not having family in my life that genuinely care or feel close. It is a reality that many people have to endure every day – and a job that people have to take on as well. I guess I fear that people don’t or won’t have a heart to endure those tasks in a way that isn’t cold – that it will simply be obligated, empty or draining for them.
I have a friend who was unlike any other friend I have known. When her grandparents were sick – she was present. Very present. Yes, she may have relied on home healthcare to help them, in addition to the things that she did – but she sacrificed time at school, and perhaps even personal wants so that she could truly be there for that family member. I just don’t see that happening in the circle of people I have in my own life. It’s disheartening. It kind of brings back the thoughts about how I wanted to be so much like my grandmother and great-grandmother — a woman that made people feel loved, so loved that they would want to pour that love back into you too. I don’t feel I have been able to pour sufficient, healthy love and words and time into my circle that it would come back to me.
On a different note – I was also impacted by the words of denial and outcry to defend their life in words on paper. It led me to reflect on who I have been, on how I have attempted to defend or justify my huge mistakes — and wondering if I ever have done enough to warrant forgiveness, how I can continue to make myself worthy of forgiveness as mistakes I’ve made have impacted my son’s life (or others) in a negative way… about what more I can do, or how I can accept rejection/heartbreak if they aren’t ready to receive my apologies or attempts to make up for mistakes in some manner without just giving up on them. I hate the feeling of being insufficient and not being the kind of family that I imagine is “normal” and close and loving and able to make adequate steps in healing/forgiveness towards each other.
One other thought also has pervaded me in the past few months, following my uncle’s passing along with this person’s suicide – I have begged my mom to have a will drawn up. She is always too busy, too tired, too everything to do it. It’s not that she has much of anything, but with the animosity my brother has towards me, I just know that it will likely bring drama that I won’t want to encounter while mourning my mom. I want things to be simple, drama-free and just be able to focus on what needs to be done while I’m mourning her loss. I know I can’t control it – and don’t know what more to do with that regard, really. I know if she had a need for a doctor appointment, she would make it happen. If she needed to get groceries, she would make it happen. If she needed to clean the house, water plants, take care of her pets… she would make it happen. I think she either doesn’t see it as a need or maybe it brings up too much for her to think about, so she just pushes it away.