This is almost like a TWO part post. This post and the one that will be posted Tuesday are following the same story line. I couldn’t quite edit them into the same story, yet they belong together. So, this is part 1. Thank you for reading and for sharing.
I don’t know who I am any more. The person I am in my mind, doesn’t mesh with the person I am forced to act out each day.
The girl I was growing up has morphed into a responsible Woman.
I know ME, right? I like to travel. I like to be around friends and learn knew things and I LOVE my kids and showing them the world, watching them grow and become whatever it is they are becoming.
But, the me I am now isn’t who I have in my mind. It isn’t who I used to be. I am a person that is looked at with sorrow, with sadness, with complete sympathy.
NO. I am not someone to feel sorry for. I am strong. I am loved. I have a warm home. I still have both my parents and my grandmother and my brother and my two beautiful children and friends and I am still alive, still thriving and moving forward. And I have a wonderful husband that loves me.
But I am changing. I am learning and growing and taking on a role I never saw coming and never asked for.
I am still me, somewhere in there. Just a new me. Someone that is being defined by how she handles a situation that there are no statistics to compare to. It is like when you become a parent…everyone tells you your life will change. They tell you to appreciate the quiet time now and to get some sleep now and you know what they are saying is true. But you can’t possibly grasp what it really feels like until you hold that precious baby in your arms the first time. I know I need to appreciate the Jim I have now. But he isn’t the Jim I married. He isn’t the Jim of last year. I know one day I will wish for this Jim back, but it is really difficult to appreciate the place we are in at this very moment, even knowing what lies ahead of us.
There is no magic guidebook. Each case of Alzheimer’s seems to be different, just as each baby is different and the way you change as a person and the way you parent is different. You learn as you go along and you do the best you can.
Just like when you have kids, your priorities change. Making the party or the club every Friday and Saturday night isn’t top of the list. Doing laundry, grocery shopping, picking up the house and making sure everyone is fed takes over the list.
That is fine. That is part of the deal.
I am not sure what my priorities are right now….I want to be the person I have to be and still be ME. The fun loving, outgoing, smart, caring person that had time for everything and everyone.
Priorities are a bitch. Sometimes you just have to let some things go. That includes friends. That includes Me time. That includes a dust bunny or two. It is ok.
Those things will not define me to my children. How I take care of them and their father will define me in their eyes, and in the worlds’ eyes.
But sometimes, I just want to be the original me. The one that managed to work, fix dinner, hang out with friends, get the house clean and still had time to watch a TV show or take in a movie. Sometimes I even weeded my yard and had beautiful flowers blooming this time of year.
Who am I and how did I get to this place? How do you define yourself when the world considers you a care partner? I am not. That is for other people, right?
I am called a care partner in the Alzheimer’s world. Jim is still able to take care of himself so I am not a caretaker. Aren’t we all care partners? For our children? For our parents? For our friends? I know I have a lot of care partners taking care of me while I take care of Jim and the kids. I think it is a cycle in this world that not many people talk about.
I want to talk about it and thank those that take care of me. And I want to thank those that take care of others. This world would really suck if we didn’t have lots of care partners for all of us.
I am fully aware that I am in the process of becoming the person I was meant to be. It has taken a long time to get to this point and I am letting myself transform from one Karen to the next. I can’t say I haven’t gone into this without a little kicking and screaming, but I do think (I hope) I am finally accepting my new me. I hope this Karen has some good things up ahead.