Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hitting the Wall

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been caring for my mother-in-law and I’ve tried to look at the positive aspects of that responsibility by focusing on the quiet times and the balance they offer as well as looking at the challenges as a way to improve myself and increase my patience – yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s fine to look at the positive side, to try to raise my mood by focusing on the good instead of dwelling on the bad, but the reality is that this is an exhausting, frustrating time in my life and last week I hit the wall. I was still performing the chores necessary to care for my mother-in-law, but it was routine, more like a professional than a daughter-in-law. My mother-in-law’s dementia has taken away much of her mental functioning, but even she noticed the difference. At one point she said to me, “You’re not being very loving.” Whoa, hearing that made me feel really bad. I didn’t mean to be unloving. I didn’t mean to go about caring for her as if I was a heartless robot just going through the motions of doing what needed to be done. I realized then that I had, in fact, run into an emotional wall. I spent some time grieving to friends and complaining to my husband. Then I took a deep breath and picked myself up from the spot on the ground where I’d landed, took a few steps back and charged back into, and through, that wall. Even though I still feel exhausted, I feel like I came out on the other side refreshed and with a renewed sense of purpose. And isn’t that what we all do throughout our lives, in varying degrees of seriousness? We run into walls; we fail, plans are changed, roadblocks come our way, but we pick ourselves up and move on. Here’s to crashing through walls!

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