Thursday, February 10, 2011

A broken record...again

My intention for today was to post some photos of my most recent quilts.  You know, just something light.  But today was another hard day.  A headache from dawn to dusk hasn't helped, but that's not the crux of it.  Here it is: I got my feelings hurt today.  Badly.  And frankly, that doesn't happen very often.  My body's pretty weak, my emotions don't tend to be.  Sure, Beve can hurt my feelings, and my kids can press my buttons, but to be wounded...well, I can count on a single hand the number of times in my life when this has happened.  Maybe because I'm just so dense I don't get it,  or maybe my mother's having been hurt by every second thing anyone ever said to her, whether it was even close to hurtful or not has actually stiffened my resolve into not taking offense by things others say or do.

Except today.  And by an old woman not functioning at the height of her abilities.  And I know better, dang it, I really know better. But here's the story: Grampie had an eye appointment, and Thyrza, as always came along because she wanted to hear what the doctor had to say, and, she told us, she wanted to speak privately to the doctor after the appointment.  So at the end of the appointment, Grampie and I sat in the waiting room while she spoke to the eye doctor.  On the way home, she told us that she'd talked to the eye doctor about Grampie's deteriorating mental abilities.  The eye doctor said, "That's not really my area of expertise. But he should probably see a neurologist."  Thyrza was very interested in this new idea, very hopeful about it.
"Thyrza," I said.  "Grampie's already seeing a neurologist, Dr. Morris.  He's been seeing him since last April. You've come with him a few times."
She remembered this, she told me.
"Would you rather find a different one, one they suggest?" I asked, treading lightly.  I know how she's been about these things lately.
"No," she answered. "I think he's fine."
Then she said, "This is why I don't like you to come to appointments with me.  You always deny or embellish everything I say."

I didn't react very well to this, I have to say.  I got very quiet (Beve would recognize this response in a second).  Finally, as I got out their walkers, I said, "I'll just be quiet from now on."  Thyrza didn't say another word to me.

I'm tired of this.  Tired of not knowing when I'm going to be blasted by her.  But what's worse is that I don't react with grace.  At least I didn't today.  And my instinct is to reduce contact, which is what she wants, though, unfortunately, not what she needs.  She/they need our help, and it's too much for Beve to do alone, nor would I want him to. But to grit my teeth and continue is not good for any of us.  How do I learn to extend grace, allow her anger, which, as I've said, is surely mostly anger at her own weaknesses, to roll over me without being hurt by it?

This is always the dilemma of the care-giver, I think.  And the dilemma of humans dealing with other humans.  We hurt each other.  We are thoughtless and offensive and lash out in anger toward others because there's something deeply hurting within ourselves.  And I manage on my own, doing better or worse, depending on my mood, the weather, and who knows what else.  Or I can admit I will never win at this equation on my own terms, and abdicate.  Give up.  Again.

Yes, I'm a broken record.  I know I am.  Because I need to learn it over and over and over.  And I'm a very slow learner.  Give up. Surrender.  Ask Him to act in me, in my stead, to extend love toward those who do not act loving toward me.  No matter what.

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