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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

'Ergo, the mineshaft'

Have you ever picked yourself up so many times from a knockout blow, a tragedy or an extreme low point that you suddenly find you don't have the strength to try one more time? Where do you go from there ?
Well meaning people will tell you to keep trying, praying or smiling;  every cloud has a silver lining. They are usually people for whom everything is going great.
I was probably one of them, once upon a time, when life was wonderful and I couldn't put a foot wrong...worked hard, played hard and raised a lovely family. I did everything that was expected of me and more. And I reaped the rewards of a well planned life that seemed perfect . And I am sure I told more than a few unhappy souls to keep their chins up and keep on trucking. But I saw their life from my advantageous viewpoint; my blithe, blissful, rainbow colored viewpoint where nothing could be that bad.
Not that I haven't proactively helped friends or family when they were down on their luck or in trouble; loaned money, given moral support, a job and a place to stay. But those experiences never prepared me for where I am today.
When I became ill, I thought I could still cope, even though I knew it was progressive and I would not get well, and to top that off, I was losing my sight. But when you are ill, you do not make the soundest of judgments and you are not at your peak performance. And the people who lean and depend upon you start to unconsciously distance themselves.
While I was wallowing in my own dilemmas, my husband contracted heart disease, had a heart attack, prostate cancer, and later, stage four kidney cancer while I was already caring for an invalid mother. And my beautiful daughter was diagnosed with an incurable kidney disease and required a transplant. That's the tip of the ice-burg. More terribly sad events continued to occur in my extended family.
But my immediate concerns were my husband , mother and daughter. My husband, who had always been vigorous and healthy, became a stranger who gradually withdrew to a place where no one could reach him. Our relationship had been in trouble for some time because I was ill and that turned him away from me. But this new self imposed isolation from family was something none of us could deal with. It affected all areas of his life and the family's. He became careless and apathetic about his work, his family and friends. He made reckless decisions and reckless investments, much to our detriment.
Meanwhile, my mother tried to take her own life twice last year. She was lonely and tired of  living with pain. I got her out of the mental facility, where she had been automatically transferred after she had regained consciousness in the hospital, by telling them I would keep a constant watch over her. I could not leave her in such a place.
My daughter's kidney transplant began to fail. And around the same time, her twin 16 year old sons decided to live with their biological father who drank heavily and had been known to use drugs, skirt the law and associate with a very fast and dangerous group of individuals. It was more than she could cope with and she had an emotional breakdown from the worry and stress, complicated by the looming specter of dialysis once more.
 My attempts to bring the boys back into the family fold have been fairly successful but I had to talk to and associate with my daughter's ex husband to get his co-operation and permission to visit them at his home and she viewed that as betrayal on my part. Now she is facing another transplant and needs her family but won't let me near her.
My husband's heart is now fragile and failing and there is not much they can do for him so he has become morose and depressed. He has strict orders to remain calm and keep his physical activity to as little as possible. To him, it is a period of 'just waiting to die'.
So here I sit, listing my woes and feeling like I am at the bottom of a mine shaft with no ladder and a pile of boulders on my chest.
I am no longer well enough to keep on trucking or looking for the silver lining. Or even to pull myself up by my boot straps and  stop whining. Whining is my thing now.  I indulge.
 I think if I wasn't so fatigued, I would, seriously, escape to some peaceful oasis, where only the sounds of lapping water and birds singing break the silence. I try to retain my sense of humor but at this point, I think even that is leaching away.
I will keep that lovely, serene haven in my mind and perhaps wishing will get me there one day. In the meantime, reality keeps butting in and puts me back down in the mine shaft, wondering, where do I go from here?
Have you had experiences that beat you down and murdered your spirit ? How did you survive them?

Shaft Dweller

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