Roses aren’t always red.
Frogs aren’t always green.
I have been awkward
since I was a teen.
This Valentine ritual
seems silly to me.
But if you need a heart,
take this frog’s. It’s free.
If there ever was a year I was ready to be rid of, it would be 2016. I’m so done with it, I can’t even begin to tell you. But I haven’t been optimistic about 2017 either.
2016 will always be the year my mom got diagnosed with acute leukemia. 2017, according to everything her doctors predict, will be the year she dies. Cheery, right?
Before May 2016, when my mom got diagnosed, I thought 2016 would be the year I finally graduated college. (I did graduate. I got my diploma while my mom was in the hospital.) But as soon as I heard the words chemo, cancer, death, etc., suddenly my accomplishment felt very small. By the end of the year I’d almost forgotten that this was the year I graduated college. Seriously. I was cleaning up some things in my desk trying to get my tax stuff together (ugh) and was like “Oh, here’s the envelope my diploma came in.”
I wish I was more unrealistically optimistic. Some people are. I envy them.
I have to work very hard at changing my mindset to one that won’t lead me down the dark road I’ve been down too many times. Granted, right now I have more valid reasons for logically feeling that way. But that doesn’t help.
I don’t want to constantly dwell on dread. I want to get back to feeling halfway alive. After all, I will be forced to go on living even after my mom dies, and she’s not dead yet. I keep telling myself I’ll survive somehow. But it’s a lot of work for me to train my brain to even think it’s possible that I won’t have a completely suicidal breakdown when the time comes. Seriously, a lot of work. Work I haven’t had the energy for in 2016.
I want 2017 to be different. There are things I can’t control, like when someone dies or what happens to that person in the meantime. But there are a lot of things I can control, like what I focus my energy on and how deep into a hole I allow myself to get with the choices I make. I can force myself to shower, for example, or not spend two weeks feeding the imaginary scenarios that play in my head or constantly remind myself how horrible of a daughter I have been.
So in that sense, I am looking forward to the first blank page of 2017. Even though I logically know that we can all start over fresh at any moment of any day, a new year seems like a better inspiration for me to do it.
I want to make each day count. I want to have something from each day I can remember, so that each day can be known for something. Instead of “the year of doom” maybe I could look back and say “but this day here, that was good for ….”. It’s worth a try.
If I thought it was difficult to enjoy certain aspects of various holidays before, I really think so now. Knowing that this will probably be my last Christmas season with my mom, as she isn’t doing well, I am having a difficult time.
I’m of course grateful for every day with her, for every extra moment, and have been hoping she would live for Christmas. On the other hand, I am not that great at “living in the moment” while under this kind of stress. I am already grieving, as is she. I have learned throughout the past months that we are not unrealistically optimistic people, and that we are the type to sit around and cry while others would be out doing those last fun things like skydiving or whatever.
As a holiday bonus, this year has stripped us financially of any extra things like holiday shopping etc. My mom injured her foot (sprained an ankle and broke a bone in the side of her left foot) and is now in a wheelchair. She therefore hasn’t been able to do the few things she had hoped to do such as buy a small Christmas gift for me with what little money she could spare to do so. (I’m not disappointed about this as I don’t care about presents, but she was disappointed.) She is in so much pain at the moment that all energy is reserved for getting to her next doctor appointment without injuring any further parts. And I can’t leave her home alone. I bought us a few VERY cheap things online only because I received an Amazon gift card for my birthday.
We were able to laugh about how at least neither of us had to brave the holiday shopping crowd. So there is a silver lining to everything, I guess.
I turned 37 on the 12th of November. It’s weird to think I am almost 40 when inside I still feel the same as when I was 9. When I was 9, people said I was an “old soul”. I still feel super old (as in worn out) but not 37. It’s weird.