Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Pearls of Wisdom
I signed up to BlogThis earlier this week, and the current challenge is to write about the best advice you've ever been given.
Mine is especially pertinent this week, especially today. The words rang loud in my mind as I contemplated the struggle I feel at times to just keep on trying.
I think I've probably blogged it before, but a few years ago, before the Motor Neurone Disease, my mother, after a hysterectomy, had a complete breakdown. The operation was simply a catalyst, and brought to the surface some horrific issues for her to deal with. She was plunged into such despair, such panic, that she spent more than 3 months in a private psychiatric facility. She had 12 rounds of ECT. She struggled with thoughts of suicide, severe depression, and crippling anxiety.
I didn't know it at the time.
While she was ill, I spent a lot of time with her. My father and I took it in turns (he was a shift worker) to be with her when she wasn't in hospital, and we visited her twice a day when she was.
I remember one day, when she was out on weekend release. It was probably around 9pm, and Dad was on afternoon shift, so at work. Nights were hardest for her (as they are for me), so we were there trying to distract ourselves with a game of football.
We were talking about what she was going through, how she was feeling. I was so priveleged to be allowed in, to have her open up to me and let me try to help. I know that it was something she struggled with, tremendously. She hated our role reversal, and at times felt deeply resentful of it.
Anyway. I remember her talking about a therapy session she'd had. She spoke about Dad, and how he was her anchor. She had been planning suicide, and was being very decietful, 'faking' a recovery, so that she could carry out her plans. We had, at the time, asked her psych to schedule her as an involuntary patient, to keep her safe.
She'd had a session with him, and he'd challenged her. Her Doctor, Josh was not anything like you picture a psych to be. He was young (not 40), dressed very casually, and was very blunt. Not one to tiptoe around an issue at all.
She was angry at him and at us, for thwarting her plans. She was being obstinate and objectionable (I love her, but Oh.My.Goodness she was stubborn!) and finally, he'd had enough.
He told her that she was all talk, this loving Dad thing. That she said he loved him, but clearly, not enough. She was outraged. "How dare you!? I'd die for him", she spat, infuriated.
"Yes", says he, wise beyong his years. "But will you live for him?"
She told me this in a near whisper. "It's all well and good to say I'd die for him. But trying to live for him. Staying alive for him. That's so much harder". Tears streamed down her face as she told me this. She clearly had accepted the challenge, but was simply overwhelmed at the battle before her.
I sit here today, feeling the same way. Today, I contemplated taking my life. I don't think I wanted to die, as such. I just wanted out. I know it sounds like semantics, but it's not. My desire isn't really to leave them. But I wanted to check out, run away, escape myself.
I just wanted it all to stop. I had a bottle of sedatives in my hand (who knows if they would have done the job. Possibly not). And I could see myself take them. All of them.
I could almost feel them hit the back of my throat as I drank them down. I could feel them slide down my throat. I thought of the best time. I thought of making sure I did it when Joel would be an hour or so away. So the boys wouldn't be alone for too long.
Of course, then I remembered that conversation. I'd thought of it a couple of times in the past few days, because of this challenge. But today, it came into my head right when I needed it. Then I thought of Joel. Imagined him finding me, imagined him trying to explain it to Alexander.
Imagined my precious son growing up without me. All children need their mothers, of course. But he needs me even more to Sam. We have a connection so intense, it takes my breath away.
And I knew that my battle was going to be staying alive for them. Trying to be happy for them. Trying to get better for them.
It's easy for me to say I'd die for Joel. It's easy to say I'd die for my children. The hard part is going to be living for them. Living well for them.
In sickness and in health, right? Maybe it's not just the healthy one that has to do the loving. Maybe the real vow was to keep trying, even in sickness.
For now, I'm hanging on for dear life. Accepting every ounce of comfort and strenth he offers me. Determined never to let go.
He's strong. He loves me. He won't let me fall.