Life in progress

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95. Scenes from the Second Seat on the Right

Monday, December 4th, 5:00pm
Drommen and Francine


Drommen: You know you can just quit your job.

Francine: And what, have you look after me?

Drommen: Of course. You know I’ll do anything for you.

Francine: I can’t let you do that. I’ll just stay put.

Drommen: Well, at least promise me you’ll look for something else. I can tell you’re getting stressed out.

Francine: (sighs) You’re right. I look around.

Drommen takes her hand and pats it.

Francine: I don’t know what I’d do without you.


Next stop: Tuesday, December 5th, 1:00pm

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The Life of a Caregiver

Life is strange, isn’t it?

I have to wonder sometimes at its fairness – how some of us get to stay relatively healthy while we watch our loved-ones fall apart.

Some believe it’s all predestined: were those who are put into the role of caregiver always meant to be one? Were they somehow chosen? I’ve heard it said that people who have ended up caring for others may be challenged by a higher power… that they are, by divine intervention, simply the person for the job. Some are able to make their own choice to work in the service of those who are less fortunate, or who are sick, some have no choice other than the choice to run away.

I’m a great believer that everything happens for a reason, though not necessarily in a mystical sense. Good and bad must always have a balance. The weights tip back and forth but nothing is ever absolute. Therefore what weakens us or challenges us can also strengthen us. Positivity can be found in the worst imaginable scenario, if we look hard enough.

What I struggle with mostly is deciding whether being the healthy one is a blessing or a curse. At first glance you think those who are ill have it the worst – and they do. There is no questioning that. But. What of the caregiver, having to watch those he or she loves suffer so?

I suppose it all comes down to the old adage, life is what you make it. In the darkest times, light can be found. But for whom is it hardest to find?


Be Nice to Your Kids

In light of recent events, most of which include having my mother live with me for more than a week while she waits for her room in the retirement home to be ready, I’ve been thinking about the saying: “Be nice to your kids – they may be looking after you one day.” And the conclusion I’ve come to is, depending on your nature, chances are it’s not going to matter whether or not they were nice to you. You’ll probably do it anyway.

I moved out of my mother’s home at the tender age of sixteen because I couldn’t stand living with her anymore. We’ve never been what you could call friends – she’s of the old school way of thinking that she’s not my friend, she’s my mother. She said so many times when I was a kid. In more recent times, when she has come to stay with me and the kids it’s been hell – she can’t communicate with Alex and he takes advantage of the fact that she can’t effectively explain to him why he shouldn’t do the annoying things he does: he laughs at her when she’s angry. I, usually, end up breaking up the fight as I might between two siblings.

And yet despite all this, I find myself calm now. I have more patience than I’ve ever had. She’s going through a transition in her life that is probably irreversible – going from living alone for the past 30 years, on and off, to going into a place that is scary in that it’s an unknown entity.

It’s funny the things I’ve found myself being able to handle when put to the test. Whether or not my mother and I have ever been able to get along, let alone live together, is put aside – it’s become irrelevant. The more difficult and challenging things get, the more I’m able to cope with. I just take it one step at a time.

I would wish what I’m going through right now on anyone – and yet I wouldn’t. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s teaching me something – that whatever I may have to deal with, my nature will allow me to deal.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to be nice to your kids. And while you’re at it, help them to discover their true nature.