Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why is everyone so afraid of feelings?

In my day job I spend a lot of time reassuring people that it's OK to have their feelings, whatever they may be. I create safe spaces for them to just feel, express and move on. There is no judgement.

People are so afraid of their feelings, and I think even more afraid of other peoples. They want to rush in and change thing, cheer them up, chastise them, STOP them, because it makes them uncomfortable. It's their own stuff.

I guess I see the same thing happen online as well. I have another blog, I don't talk about how I really feel over there. I guess that's why I created this one. I just want to be honest about how I feel, and not be judged.

Simple really, just trying to write about my experience as a carer, from the inside out, not prettied up.

I guess I write it to help me, and if it helps you then thats a bonus.

I went out to lunch with a friend a few days ago. She tried to be understanding but she doesn't get why I go and spend time with mum every few weeks when she is starting to forget who I am.

" She's in a safe place, she's being well cared for... you don't need to see her that often. She doesn't even remember you've been."

I know she meant well...

I told her a story about my mum.

When I was only a year old I was very sick and I had to undergo several operations. My mother was only 26, her marriage was already in tatters. She phoned my Dad and told him I had been taken to the hospital for surgery.

He told her he was too busy to come home...
... and he was busy... with another woman...

Those where the days when parents had restricted visting hours when children were hospitalised. Just a few hour each evening. Nothing like the constant access these days.

On the morning of my operation my mum arrived at the hospital. She was told to go home and come back in visiting hours. "Anyway ... what's the point of you being here, there's nothing you can do to help! " was the staffs irritated response when she became upset.

Crying and alone. My mum took up a seat in the corridor near the operating theatres. She refused to go, she told them, until I was safely back in the ward.

The staff gave up trying to make her leave and left her alone. A bit later an old lady came past and saw that she was upset. She sat down beside her and, on learning that her a one year old baby was having surgery and mum was waiting against the rules, decided to sit with her.

And so the two of them sat quietly together in the hall for the next few hours. She was a stranger, just someone walking by. But she stayed and sat, and gave my mum the support she needed to get through.

Eventually a nurse came and told them I was OK and they should go now. Mum could see me later that day in regular visiting hours.

Thats just one of the stories about my mum that explains why I go and visit often.

Did I 'know' that she was in the hall the whole time I was being operated on when I was a baby? Did I understand the distress of a young mum, with a seriously ill child who's husband was 'too busy' to come?

Whether I knew she was there makes no difference. My mum sat in that hall and defied the rules for one reason. I was her child and she loved me. Where else would she be when I was sick?

Thats why I go often and visit her, even though she's forgetting who I am, and that I was there.

She's my mum and I love her. Where else would I be when she is sick?

I had no other explanation for my friend, who just shook her head at the 'waste' of my time.

And that little lady that sat with my mum and kept her company. No advice, no trying to make her feel different, or trying to move on her from her vigil. Just willing to be present at a time of need.

I guess thats what this blog is like for me. Just a place where I can sit with my experiences and feelings and let them just be what they are.