Happy Holidays With Heart

I’m happy you had a fun time at Christmas.  It is good respite to have laughter and good company.
A week from today I am flying to San Diego to give my sister JoEllen and her hubby Ed a respite from caring for their daughter, my second niece, Dee.  Dee has cancer, an aggressive type of which was found in her tongue, a cancer found inside a cancer and what has spread to lymph nodes.  She has not eaten in months (a good 45% of her tongue has been removed) and has lost 60 pounds.  My goal is to give Jo and Ed a well deserved break and to be with Dee.  Her son, my nephew, is also doing what he can. He is heavily immersed in becoming a nutritionist.  Nick needs a break, too. Her daughter is in college, away from home.  When Lauren is home, she is said to be a stellar caregiver.
I do not expect to have a Southern California vacation at all.  Jo and Ed are 86.  Jo is using a cane and I hear through the sister telegraph she is considering walkers.
As for the other two of my sisters:
Susan, in the course of 3 months has had her shoulder repaired, two cataract surgeries with lens replacements and is now recovering from a knee replacement.

Linda was at the dog park with her adopted pooch when a dog ran directly into her and broke Linda’s leg.  She was in a wheelchair for at least a month, and without her late husband Dennis to take care of her(he was that type of guy.  He helped take care of my mother and held Mom’s hand as she passed away.  I’m going to cry thinking about all of them and all of this.)
Christmas was a nearly complete bust for me.  My husband did not even so much as wish me a Merry Christmas on what used to be my get down and rejoice favorite holiday).    Because of his refusal to acknowledge its importance to someone other than himself, I gave myself the gift of an Instant Pot (I have mastered pressure cooked hard-boiled eggs) and to put myself first in this relationship.  He and I do a split on expenses: he pays the mortgage, I pay the utilities and buy the groceries.  I used to include beverages such as soda pops, juices, chips, cookies, some candy, his personal items ie. shampoo and toothpaste, but those are now off the shopping list.    He did offer to buy a new set of pots and pans, but when I asked him if that was supposed to be a gift to me so I can cook for him, I not only declined the offer, I reexamined my drive to do almost all the cooking.  I gave myself some new behaviors.  When its time to even THINK about dinner, if I am not feeling it, I do whatever else I am feeling.  It even gets him to set the table and put something together.
I thought of you during the Christmas Advent and beyond.  I would have sent you a Christmas card but I do not have your address.  On New Year’s Eve day I went to Michael’s and bought a tabletop Christmas tree and a couple of picture frames.
As far as my February b-day is concerned, its usually a Christmas-like dud around here.  Just like my wedding, I don’t own it.  Last year I chose to work all day on the blessed occasion. I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday and relished in the freedom of not being disappointed and having a secret.  The client I was with was at the end of her life. I sat and watched her breathe, helped the Hospice nurses and CNA’s and alerted her son when their Mom needed more Morphine.    You may think I am being tongue in cheek about it. Nope.  The client was someone I enjoyed every minute with, who taught me some care skills (she taught nursing) I have since shared with others in similar situations.  Staying with her, getting to kiss her goodbye and wish her a good journey was fulfilling.  Caregiving fills my heart and replaces the loneliness I have felt for years.   The next day Rand exclaimed how he didn’t even get me cake!  I invited him to do so. Like most things that do not involve only himself, I never saw any cake.  I think I chose wisely.
He usually conjures up his romantic side from the depths of his soul for Valentine’s Day.  His romantic self is kept in solitary confinement 364 days a year. The poor out of practice Romeo crawls out of its unlit, airless cell.  It raises up its head  like the Steve McQueen character getting a haircut in the movie PAPILLON then asks, “How do I look?”.  Pretty rough around the edges, crosses my mind. I say, “You look good”,  not to be an ungrateful battle ax or doom any possible future Valentine’s Day.  Last year was over the top for him:  I don’t remember anything particular about it.

I booked my flight to Southern California not long after Christmas, feeling the need to get out of here on my own terms.  He can take care of the cat’s litter box.  I will be gone on Valentine’s day. I don’t want to be disappointed.

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