Thursday, November 5, 2009

Full disclosure

Awhile back I mentioned an article about the stress and pain associated with providing care for an elderly loved one, every day. Not just Saturday with grandma at the nursing home or even Tuesdays with Morrie in Boston. Daily care, from the first stretch in the morning to the last bathroom break before bed. Not to mention nighttime calls to answer an anxious cry, deliver pain medicine or just wonder what the hell is going on and why are we up at X in the morning.

Every day with Bandar represents a creative outlet for me to deal with an unexpected turn of events: My mother-in-law moved in with my wife and me. I can hardly believe that's the case as I type the words. I take Bandar to therapy and to doctor's visits, make her appointments, put on her shoes, help her walk, feed her and clean up after her. And without going into detail, I help Bandar get to and from the bathroom. Don't try to imagine.

It's not all fun and games around here, despite my best efforts to accept reality and go with the flow... to take a day at a time... live life on life's terms... surrender to God's will, that he has a plan for me. For us. (If I can find a helpful phrase or suggestion, damn it, I use it!)

Sometimes, every day with Bandar is more than just challenging, for me. For Sophie. For Sophie's siblings and nieces and nephews. And for Bandar. Stress rears itself in many ways.

You know those funny traits and characteristics about Bandar?
Her quirks can be annoying beyond words. If I let them. And I could post every day on my complaints and inconveniences, frustrations and even anger. With Bandar. How easily I could fill the pages of my blog...
This is my better or worse?
I didn't sign up for Bandar-duty when I got married... Other families just put their older relatives in nursing homes and do what Americans do best -- love them from afar... I had to marry a certain-ethnic girl from a certain-ethnic culture that doesn't put people out of sight so they can be out of mind... Is this fair? Is it right? Why me?
And, I'm not in this Bandar business alone. I could expand endlessly and project my own negative thoughts and feelings upon Bandar's entire family.

But then, who would read, "Bitter With Bandar?" Or, "Bitching about Bandar?" Would I care if my readership feel to zero? As much as I appreciate and love readers here, I write this blog for me. For my own sanity. So if bitterness and bitching helped, I'd give it a go.

Thank God, somehow I recognized early on the futility of acting on self-pity. The creation of this blog helped me with that. By writing about the unexpected and very authentic love and joy that I and we experience every day with Bandar, I shift my world view. Day by day. Moment by moment.

Still, I'm no saint. I have my other moments. You're just not going to read about them here.

1 comment:

  1. "somehow I recognized early on the futility of acting on self-pity."

    True words. On the other side of that coin is a sense of entitlement. So many ugly things come out of that.

    I'm much happier since I started looking back with gratitude rather than forwards with entitlement. I'm glad you've learned the same - your situation would be hard without it!