It is funny how something as simple as a cold can mess with your brain. I have not been thinking straight for a while, and I was absolutely certain someone else was on the schedule for tonight. When I finally broke down and looked at the schedule, it was a shock. These eight days of feeling sick have confused me more than I thought.
A couple of hours ago I was crying and wishing there was someone to take care of me. I am not doing a very good job of self care. I am not good at it when things are going well, and even worse at it when I am sick.
I grew up fast and had to care for myself on my own from a pretty young age. And I resent that. I resented it then and sometimes I still resent it now. Other kids had a mom who made sure they had everything they needed, but my mom was preoccupied with other things and just assumed I could fend for myself.
I could. But I did not want to. I resented having to wash my own clothes and fix my own meals and do my own grocery shopping and all the other ways I basically raised myself. Sometimes when I see schmaltzy stories about little ones getting tucked in at night or having their mother fold their clothes and all the little stuff that cared-for kids take for granted, I get weepy and angry. I had lots of friends who were also being raised by single mothers and we commiserated together about all the stuff we had to do. So I knew I wasn't the only kid wearing a key on a string around my neck and coming home to an empty house and making myself dinner and going to bed before my mom got home from working overtime. But it still made me jealous of kids who did not have to do that.
And when I am sick, like I am now, it causes all my loneliness to collapse on me. It just makes me think of all the years I have struggled to care for myself and not done a very good job of it. I can never go back and have a caretaking mom. It seems ridiculous to even keep thinking about it. But it is a part of me.
Mom and I became very very close in the final years of her life, when we lived together and I gave her practically round the clock elder care. I enjoyed having someone to take care of. It gave my life greater purpose than just trying to take care of me, who did not deserve it. Here is the convoluted logic--if I deserved to be cared for, someone would have cared for me, but since no one did, then that means I don't deserve to be cared for, even by myself. I know it does not make sense. But that is the thinking I am trying to overcome.
There was a time in life when I said I would never care for my mom in her old age--that I would never give my life to eldercare as I had seen other women do. That was for people who felt they owed their mom repayment for all the care they had received as a child, and I did not have that to motivate me. When she needed care, I would say no and laugh! Ha! Thereby punishing her for not giving me the care I needed when I was a child.
But when the actual time came, I felt differently. She was so fragile and had no one but me and it moved my heart past old resentment into a place of tenderness and a deep desire to show her how much she was loved. I was grateful to have a chance to show her that she was worth being lovingly cared for. I was getting at the roots rather than the symptom. Mom did not take good care of herself and I know on some level she did not feel deserving of good self care. She passed that on to me. So I thought that if I cared for her at the end of her life she would finally feel worthy of good care, and some of that might rub off on me too.
I am still working on it. I perform small acts of self care everyday hoping feelings will follow actions, and that by performing good self care I will come to believe I deserve good self care.
It is a long shot, but all I have left to try.
So I can't be in this diary tonight. I am just posting a placeholder so that people in need will have a place to gather. I took today off and have to work at least half a day tomorrow. So I am going to drink another cup of chicken bouillon and take my night time pills and go to bed.
Please share whatever you are dealing with on your grief journey tonight.
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