You know how in life sometimes that aha moment just flies in to your brain out of nowhere? When you aren’t looking and least expect it?
I was just throwing some laundry in and that just happened to me.
Let’s back up a minute though (apologies to Arias trial watchers and Nurmi PTSD that phrase just triggered).
Today I woke up exhausted. I woke up shaking from exhaustion. I woke up wondering how I was going to gather myself together to see my clients today. I mean I have to put my hands on them. Kind of hard when your hands are tremoring.
My Dad is still cruising down a river in Europe. He has no idea what’s been going on over these last two weeks. I don’t have real contact info for him but have had some cheery emails from my Aunt Carolyn who he’s with who actually knows how to cyber communicate (even though my father has an ipad but anyway..grrr). I’ve not wanted to upset him out in the middle of nowhere over there so have told her but asked her to tell him when they land back home and that he’ll have an email waiting.
So this morning I wrote him the whole story and asked him for some support. I’m basically working two full time jobs right now, my practice and taking care of John and his needs, crisis management, home management, basic person management. While we were in the waiting room at the hospital I received an email from the bankers who handle his bill paying (that my father set up) asking if he’d gotten new car insurance, some other bill thing, etc. As if I can discuss any of this with John right now. Or have the time to dig through his piles of papers at home to try and figure it out.
But these are the many tasks I take care of in regard to my brother. As my Dad recently said to me “you’re living two lives”.
So, without going in to details, I asked him for more support in the management of my brother’s life. I am working two full time jobs at the moment yet the one I don’t get paid for, interrupts the one I do get paid for so I actually lose money with my “volunteer job”. That has to end. That’s going to end. And for once I indicated exactly what I need. So, that’s kind of a breakthrough.
After I finished my letter, there was a knock at the door. I opened it and standing there was my dear Uncle Junie (short for Junior). He’s my mother’s younger brother. I have an interesting connection with Uncle Junie in that I feel this deep, immediate, familial love every time I’m around him instantly no matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen him. He always looks at me as if he’s misses me and just is so happy to see me. Sometimes I wonder if he looks at me and sees his sister, my mother, so gets immediately sentimental.
That’s an older pic of him but I on a whim googled his name and he has a wiki page! Isn’t he handsome? Sometimes I look at him and think we look more alike than I do with my own father. I actually thought that today. Kind of weird but cool.
I felt glad, overwhelmed and guilty all at the same time to see him. Mainly because he’d called me over the weekend to tell me that his wife, his dear wife of like gazillion years, passed away. I was so completely consumed with the John situation that I’d not called him back yet (he lives in Tucson). I really just felt like “I can’t talk to him until I have something to give even a shoulder to cry on and I have nothing right now”. I was just waiting for a moment to call when I felt a shred of energy to offer him in heart felt condolence. Have you ever felt that way? That you don’t even have it in you to have a conversation like that?
A rarity for me because being with people in grief is kind of my strong suit. I just kept putting it off and there he was at my doorstep. Me in my pajamas. He looking dapper and fit as always although he’s in his 70’s. He played college football, then coached college football and taught golf his whole career at Michigan State and Western Michigan University. He’s super athletic. And here I am, in my pajamas, my hair on top of my head, no shower and at least 20 pounds heavier than the last time he saw me. I felt embarrassed honestly. Like somehow I had let him down (my stuff, not his).
Yet the minute he came in we couldn’t stop hugging each other. It’s like in my DNA to recognize and love this man so deeply and so instantly. I know he feels the same with me. We have a really special connection I can’t describe. I told him I had to jump in the shower in half an hour. He told me he’s on a trek up to Michigan stopping to see family along the way. He’d never been to my house but had my address so cold called me and as he said “I thought I had a 1% chance of finding you here”. Of course I immediately apologized for not calling and explained.
Truth be told, the second he asked me how I was, I burst in to tears. He was so kind, so compassionate, sat on the couch asking me questions about John, knowing very little about how bad it’s been. I filled him in Cliff Notes version and although I was so self conscious seeing him at first, I felt so just connected to him and grateful he came by.
He’s headed to Sedona where another cousin of his by marriage moved. Ironically she was my client for months several years ago and it wasn’t until she had moved on from therapy that we realized we were sort of distant cousins! Imagine her living in Sedona now. So now I have another connection up there. 🙂
Uncle Junie shared with me in his short form too about Aunt Billie’s death and how he was doing. His journey to spread her ashes and other poignant details. He made sure I had his cell number and asked me to call him along his travels and keep in contact. We stood at the door and kept hugging and him kissing on the cheek as he was leaving. He even walked out and opened the screen door once again to give me another hug. We both needed it. I’m tearing up right now just thinking somehow he feels like he’s hugging his sister, my mother, through me.
I promised him we’d spend more time when he comes back in September. We need each other. I need more family connections. And he’s just so special. One of the most special men I’ve ever known. I feel bad not having fostered this relationship more distinctly over the years. It’s never too late.
Oh and one more thing. When I told him I’d been doing some writing, he shared with me he came across a memoir of sorts his deceased brother wrote about being in the War, being severely injured and paralyzed from the waist down temporarily. His odyssey to get back home, all his emotional ups and downs documented during this tumultuous time. He asked me if I’d be interested in reading it and perhaps crafting it in to a book! It’s all written out in long hand. I can’t wait to see it. Now that Uncle, Uncle Gene, is one of the reasons I moved to AZ in the first place. He was one of two people I knew out here when I came and I spent alot of time with him when I moved out here. He was my mother’s oldest brother. Interesting he should be coming back again in the form of this memoir. And even more interesting I’m going to do a 4 day workshop on memoir writing next week. Hmmmm….
So, I made it through my work day. My last client literally stuck her hand in a hornet’s nest so had to cancel. I chuckled inside when I heard that message in the vein of “I feel your pain”. That’s kind of wrong but true. I was glad and not glad she canceled as I don’t make an income when I’m not working and I already had to cancel clients to deal with John’s crisis. But I really am running on fumes and she was a new client.
It allowed me some time to hang out with John’s cats and fall asleep on his couch for about two hours. Not really two hours I could lose but the exhaustion just overtook me and I couldn’t fight it. And the cats came around me so it was good for them even though I was comatose.
Picked up John’s cigarettes as he requested and went to visit. The nurse taking care of him, the one I’d had to basically tell how to do her job earlier this morning ( having to do with meds), was there and equally as bitchy in person.
“Did John get his shot today?” (that’s what I pushed for)
“Did he see his Dr?”
“Did Nicki his case manager come visit him?”
That was the extent of our dialogue. I’ll just say, the scene is far different than it was when I was practicing Psych nursing. I would have walked around from the nurse’s station and shook their hand and given them an update on how their family member was doing. But times were different then.
I found John also nearly comatose. But honestly that’s how things should have been the first night he got there. Someone coming in as agitated and psychotic as he was needs an immediate “big guns” intervention. By that I mean a Haldol shot or some other major tranquilizer. To quickly pull them out of the psychosis. They’d done nothing of the sort until I called last night and asked how they were intervening. What I got was basically nothing but the same med regime that got him there in the first place.
So I told the nurse (I think the bitchy one I saw today too) that he needs Haldol to pull him out of it quickly. I think John was being so aggressive and difficult , she was motivated to do something so she said she’d call the Dr. and get the order, which she did. I’m still driving the train even from my living room.
Good news though, even as he was unsteady and “disoriented” as he said, I could tell he was somewhat back from the dark cloud of his voices and paranoia. I could see him making more contact with me as himself.
I wrote on Facebook today “It’s a relief he is in the hospital so not under my roof like this. And it’s terrifying he’s in the hospital and not under my roof like this”
I had another go round with the staff this morning over a shot he was to get today at his clinic that is critical for the new regime his Dr. put him on. Nurse Bitchy got all argumentative saying “no not until another 28 days” to which I responded “yes 28 days from the shot he is to get TODAY, I have the appt card in my hand right now for the 11:30 appt today I was to take him to get the booster on this dosage”. She basically said “I’ll call the Dr.” and hung up on me. I doubt she did call him but I made a few other calls and got his case manager on it who was to visit him today and made sure she brought those orders. Again, still managing his care from my living room.
BUT I think I have the most important issues taken care of so I can leave on Saturday and let them coast with him now. It’s one thing “turning his care over to the professionals” and another when the “professionals” are dropping the ball. There aren’t many balls to drop at the moment so I will be able to let go.
Somehow after all of this and my power nap, I got finally a burst of energy an hour or so ago. So I’m setting about organizing and packing for my trip.
Ok, back to my aha moment. Man that was the tangent of the Century there wasn’t it?
The phrase that came to me as I tossed my active wear in to the gentle cycle was “this is a hard reset”.
You see I had a moment of feeling sorry for myself earlier this evening while doing some shopping and seeing all the 4th of July stuff out there. I realized I’ve received exactly zero invitations for the 4th this year. Not one person reached in to my life to invite me to anything. I was both sad and relieved honestly. Sad because once again I’m made aware of my isolation at times and how I too fall through the cracks of my own life. And relieved because I really need a full day to get things done for my trip and get my house ready to leave for a week (and John’s).
I think this “hard reset” thing will reveal more to me but it has something to do with creating a more functional support system for myself. More connectivity, more ability to rely on reliable people. I see and feel things changing and I think it was no accident Uncle Junie stopped by today as inconvenient and awkward as it felt in terms of timing. I need to start re evaluating things. Or maybe things are just being recalibrated for me.
One thing I know is I developed a whole new circle of friends through the Travis Alexander trial. As I’ve written the distinct similarities between Travis and Cindy makes me wonder if they weren’t conspiring to bring me some new people in to my life.
One of those gals sent me flowers to my office this week.
She’s the brunette above, Angie.
Another relentlessly tried to get a hold of me when I wasn’t calling back quickly. Another made a seriously sincere offer to watch my cats (although I didn’t need her by then). It’s a good circle of goodness that came together through that trial. One that is offering me some things that have been lacking in my life. Practical support. Now I just coined that phrase but it’s a good one, don’t you think?
Before these gals, I’ve had really just one friend who’s been that person for me. The person who shows up with soup at my door, who checks on me vehemently when I’m sick, who makes sure I am included in holiday things, who just keeps tabs on me. She knows who she is, don’t you Amy? 😉
I have my boys in Sedona but they are…in Sedona. Rob would have handled that cat sitting thing for me in two seconds flat if he were here. He’s that kind of friend too.
Anyway, that circle is widening now. And that family feeling is also deepening with Uncle Junie’s visit being a clear and present harbinger of good.
I just can’t forget how he kept turning back to hug me at the door, so happy to see me, so sad to leave me. How much he loves me, unconditionally.
I need more of that. I will reach in to more of that. I will accept more of that.
And I will be open to this hard reset my life is undergoing right now, letting go where I need to and opening where I need to.
A lot of transition going on right now. Lots of travel inner and outer. I’m just now starting to come out of my coma to get excited to see what or who might be showing up on my doorstep or popping out of a suitcase next.