Life, Not Made Easy

An elderly couple comfort each other- Part of ...

An elderly couple comfort each other- Part of Paul Ganuchaud’s relief depicting life behind the front-line being one of two reliefs which form the Fort Mahon Plage monument aux morts. Fort Mahon Plage is in the Somme region of France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m 55 years old and still battling the stomach bug I got yesterday. With me, you never know if I caught this from my daughter or if it’s one of Fibromyalgia’s side effects rearing its ugly horse head again. All I know is that what I wanted was to be ten again and for my mom to make me two soft-boiled eggs in a dish, with crumbled up pieces of toast and a pat of butter all mixed together. That’s what I wanted and I didn’t want to make it myself.

I am lucky enough that my mom is still alive and so I called her and told her how I was feeling. “I wish for that too” she said somberly, the effects of getting older weighing heavily on her these past few days. She worries about me and I worry about her, not that it makes any difference at all but it feels good to know someone cares. Life, since my father died has been very difficult for her, for all of us, but on certain days she is inconsolable. Her friends are dying or very sick and getting old “is no pleasure.”

When my husband left today to go back to Rochester for work I felt sad and I couldn’t prevent a tear or two from trickling down my face. It’s hard when he goes but it feels impossible when he goes and I’m really sick. I can handle most everything on my own, Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, but when I get a stomach flu on top of that? I fall apart. I feel vulnerable and scared and alone. This is the worst of Fibromyalgia for me, not the pain or the aches, I can deal with those because I am used to them. It’s when something unexpected comes up that is out of the norm, that’s when I crash and feel vulnerable and all I want to do is stay in my bed and cry.

Since we got the new puppy, it’s like having a toddler again, a biting, misbehaving toddler. I know she is young and will grow out of it but again, when I am not feeling well everything seems like so much of an effort. I’m sure friends would help if I asked them but I usually try to “save” my favors for important things. I’ve decided I’ll be better tomorrow, I have no other choice.

I’ve tried to accept life’s curve balls and I always needed 24 hours to get used to a new, bad, situation. I don’t think I have that luxury anymore. Bad things happen to most of us, except for a lucky few, and it seems like they are happening all the time. Was it always like this? I truly don’t believe so but maybe we were so young and naïve and having fun, we just didn’t notice.

Early Bird or Night Owl


Elderly Couple – Vintage

Early bird or night owl? Are these the only options? I’m neither. Oh dear, I think I am old. With one child in college and another child a senior in high school, I am able to sleep later in the mornings. Do I stay up late and party? I hate to confess, the answer is no. Maybe, instead of just old I’m also dull. Great…. I used to want to go to sleep before my husband or after for peace and quiet and lately, I love having him near me as we both fall asleep together. He was away for four weeks so maybe I’m just appreciating him more now.

I’m boring too. Gasp! It’s true. I never was a drinker, was always more of a homebody, even as a teenager, so I guess I’m still the same. I write, I read, I am now addicted to Pinterest (which I can’t pronounce.) I used to be much more independent when I was single and lived alone, before I got married. I stayed out late with friends, we went to dinner after work, to the Village, to the movies. We were out late and up late fearlessly taking the subways at all times of the night. Sometimes when I came home late, I then rearranged the furniture in my studio apartment or cleaned until 3am with my music blaring and me dancing like the Jennifer Beals in Flashdance (a movie from the seventies.) When you are YOUNG and living by yourself, it’s “fun.” You would have to have me lifted by a crane to do ANY cleaning at any time except during my normal waking hours. I’m neither an early bird or a night owl. What does that make me? I’m 55 years old and yes, I do have a few chronic illnesses that make me more tired but they are not life-threatening. I’m going to give myself a break (for once) and just say “I’m normal.”

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Welcome HOME ??!

We’re back in NY in a blustery blizzard of snap, bite, whip of the wind, tears in our eyes after 30 seconds outside.  While I dearly miss the sun kissing my skin and the water of aqua blue, I do not miss the 3:30AM arrival of our upstairs hotel-mates every single night. We knew they came home early in the morning and then continued moving furniture, or should I say scraping furniture across the room.  After sleeping 12 hours in my own, comfy bed,  I was happy to be home.

Until…..I called my mother this morning to talk to her and I could tell from her “hello” it wasn’t going to be one of those warm and fuzzy discussions. Of course, for those of you who know my mother, I’m not entirely sure we’ve ever really had one of those before!  Last night, knowing my mother worries a lot about us traveling I asked my daughter, Jillian, to give her a quick call from the airport last night to tell her we had landed. Nice, right? Sensitive.  I think she was happy we had called.

This morning when I woke up at 12:30PM I called my mother to talk….to “shmooze.”  Surprising, even to me, I was met with 5 if not 6 references on how we were NOT home for Christmas. Again.   What? I thought that had been settled a long time ago and she was ok with it. I mentioned it to her and she said “well now I’ll tell you again…for the 7th time you weren’t here for Christmas!!”  Basically, her anger at our going, even strengthened when we returned. Mom, don’t you get it, I thought to myself…don’t you want your children to be happy, even if for ONCE, it means they go without you?  I didn’t have the nerve to say it, call me a weakling but I know trouble when I hear it in the intonation of  of her voice.  She told me how my niece and nephew were going to take her to dinner for a Christmas present and I thought that was absolutely lovely (probably engineered by my sister but who cares??!!) I was happy for my mother that her “other” grandchildren were being so loving. Good for them, good for her.

She then proceeded to tell me how she somehow got an OLD email from my husband from a year ago that resurfaced on her computer and how upset she was and how nasty he was. What?  She apparently had read this email a year ago, was mad at him, forgave him (my husband is one of the sweetest most helpful men on earth) and then reread it, and got mad all over again.We don’t even know what the email was about anymore; frankly, we don’t care.  It was over a year ago, why bring it up again?? Even my husband has finally had his fill, once I told him this. He drives there all the time to help her with her computer, he brings her food but she is losing everybody’s respect with her unwavering desire to hold grudges.  What has happened to her? Where has she gone?

My mother used to be a very likable, loving, even tempered woman. Truly she never, ever held a grudge. I remember telling my grade school friends that when my mother was wrong, she used to apologize, something unheard of in the 60’s.  I do the same thing with my children.  Although I remember her always having a fight with someone when I was little, it passed. Now,  the grudge never goes away and apparently can resurface at any time. Especially, to me and my family. Nothing is ever enough, and when we bend over backwards to please her she finds fault in something else. I give enormous credit to my sister and her family for their graciousness about our decision for once to go away over Christmas, truly. And, I thought my mother and I had worked it out before we went, actually I know we worked it out before we left. But to come home to her nastiness, again, is really  just too much.

I told my mom that there were a few disappointing aspects of our vacation and I got the impression she was thrilled. Yes, I was disappointed over a few things that happened with friends and family but that’s okay. My mother went after this like a dog with a bone. “So, she inquired,  it wasn’t perfect!!!!??”  No, it wasn’t perfect, but really, mom. What is?

She is losing us with her bitterness and her nastiness. Can’t she see that? Can’t she learn from that? My sister told me she bought my mother a work book about “How to let go of grudges” something she so desperately needs.  Will she work on it? I doubt it, because even though some people get bitter and resentful as they age,the woman I  call my mother is simply unrecognizable anymore. I’ve lost the woman I love, or to be more honest, she has lost herself.

dedicated to my sister Emma and my friend, Elise.