Life in progress


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16. Scenes from the Second Seat on the Right

Saturday, September 16th, 4:00pm
The Darkness (the bus driver, everyone else on the bus)

 

The Darkness: (shouting) I AM THE DARKNESS!! I AM THE DARKNESS!!

The Darkness: (stands) I AM THE DARKNESS!!

The bus driver stops the bus and walks back to The Darkness.

The bus driver: I’m sorry, sir, but you’re going to have to get off the bus.

The Darkness: (one octave higher, as though explaining) I AM THE DARKNESS!

The bus driver: I get that, sir, but you’re going to have to leave now.

The Darkness: (walks toward the door, mumbling) I am The Darkness.

Everyone else on the bus applauds.

 

Next stop: Sunday, September 17th, 1:00pm

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Of Rainbows, Unicorns and Happily Ever After

I really needed this today – been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately. I thought I’d share it with you all, in case you’re in need of it too.
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Don’t you just wish that my title summed up life?
I know I do and more often than I care to admit.
Yet if there is one thing that I have learned over the past months and weeks is that any ‘happily ever after’ is entirely up to me!
That’s right.
Me!!!!!
Kinda puts a lot of responsibility on a gal you know?
Having the sole responsibility for my own happiness is a big deal.

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I is for Impermanent

Impermanence: what better way to explain life? It’s a wonder that the word impermanent even exists; nothing is permanent. Unless you’re talking about a hairdo of course. Hair spray only goes so far so if you want it to stay that way, you’re gonna need a perm.

But I digress. As I do. One of the synonyms for impermanent is “ephemeral.” It’s a word that’s stuck with me since the summer before I first went to high school. A group of people got together to do a stage production of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, and somehow I got involved. We didn’t have a script, we just adapted the book. Quite brilliant for a bunch of high school kids when I think back.

Anyway, there was a line in the book, and in our play, that went, “That which is in danger of speedy disappearance,” as an explanation of what the word ephemeral means. The line was delivered to (not by) a boy named Charlie who later became a friend. We hung out together all through high school. He was in the foster care system and sometimes moved from place to place – for a while he lived at my house. He was the youngest of, if I remember correctly, four. All of his sisters had left home and had their own lives. His mother was schizophrenic.

After high school, Charlie went out on his own. He moved to Toronto and had several different jobs. Then we heard he’d been living in a tent. It came out later that he was schizophrenic, like his mother. He hung himself to death before his thirty-fifth birthday.

Charlie always struck me as someone who was ephemeral. From his frequent moves between foster parents, and his very upbringing, leaving his home and his sisters who were all unable to care for him, to finally his departure from life.

Elusive, fleeting, unstable, transient, perishable, evanescent… mortal.

The very theme of The Little Prince. If you haven’t read it, I strongly urge you to. There’s a lesson there which needs to be learned.


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Cheer

I’m a generally cheerful person. I try not to let things get me down. No, the situation in which I live is not ideal, but it’s really as good as it’s ever going to get. I have enough people and things in my life to make me content. I do my best for those I love, and though I could probably use a little more time off, I manage quite well, given what I have.

Yet I’ve found myself complaining a lot of late. If I was to stand back and have a frank word with myself, I’d say, “If you don’t like the way things are, change them.” So that’s what I’m going to do.

Here’s a photo of three poppies.

poppies

I think the one on the right is playing peek-a-boo.

What I really need is a vacation away from here. I want to get away – to get out of my miniscule world and experience something different. Not exotically different, necessarily, just off the block, out of town, to see new faces and unfamiliar places.

I want to break free, damnit! Thank goodness the Queen concert is coming up.


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Constant

Never a dull moment, they say. And here, in my life, it’s true.

I just walked into the room which houses my main household computer to find a hole in the wall. My autistic son has learned not to put his fist through the window, it seems. That was so two years ago. And now there is one more thing to add to the list of repairs on my house.

We’ve been through the behavioural training. I’ve been told over and over again to ignore the behaviour I don’t like and pay attention and praise the behaviour I wish to continue. But I can’t be with him all the time. This is what happens, apparently, when I ignore the yelling. Most of the time it actually works. Once in a while, I pay the consequences.

It’s an ongoing struggle. I’m sad to think that I might not always be able to take care of him on my own, but it’s a fact I have to face. He needs the influence of a man in his life – he’s eighteen years old. I don’t have one for him, and his father not only lives elsewhere, but that elsewhere is now hours away instead of across town where he lived up until this summer.

Sometimes I feel like I do nothing. I can spend hours some days, just writing. Other days I’m completely overwhelmed. Least of all is the stress of not knowing what’s coming next.

Such is life with an autistic child…. adult.


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And so the true paranoia sets in

I had no idea that it was a ‘thing,’ but apparently, with senile dementia comes paranoia. As my mother ages I’m thinking more and more that I need to research the stages, before she goes through them.

Last night she told be that she had been talking to her sister, six years her senior, on the phone and that her sister is losing her mind. My mother loves to complain about anything, but when it comes to her siblings, nothing has ever been more delightful to her than being superior to them. Being an only child I can only assume that this is a result of early childhood bullying, or simply being told what to do, since my mother is the youngest of five.

Anyway, she was gleefully informing me about how her sister had related the same thing story times in the space of five minutes, and then the subject of my mother’s apartment came up. To backtrack a bit, before my mom moved to town, I lived in her apartment since I hadn’t found a place of my own. Her apartment came available on the market, so I bought it. Then when her old house sold, she bought my house and I moved out of her apartment the day she moved in. Confused yet? Just keep going.

She forgets that she came to visit me when I lived in her apartment. She swears up and down that she never saw the place before the day she moved in. When I tried to remind her last night, she not only denied it, she told me that I was the one who was losing my mind, not her – she’s obviously worried about it even if she won’t admit it.

What really got under my skin, and is worrying me, is that she accused me of saying she saw her apartment before she moved in just to make her think she is going crazy – like I’m doing it maliciously.

I’m getting close to the point where I’m going to have to move her into a place where she can have assisted living. Not a nursing home, necessarily, but a retirement home at least. She wants to move in with me, but I just can’t handle it. My children have to come first, as well as my own health. She is just too much work.

I’m just afraid if I wait too much longer, she’ll think I hate her. This paranoia thing is really scary.


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Call me weird

This may be strange – it’s something I’ve never talked to anyone about before – but once in a while I kind of sit back from myself.  Hmmm…no, that’s not right.  (Maybe this is why I’ve never talked about it before.) Try again.  Sometimes I look at my life and wonder how I got here.  By here I mean in this house, in this town, with these people I live with. I guess that’s the strange part about it. ‘These people’ I live with are two of my kids. Of course I know ‘these people’ – I gave birth to them. …wow, right? I am responsible for the existence of ‘these people’!

Anyway, this is something I’ve done over and over again in my life. Just sat back and looked at where I am and what brought me here…living with my kids.

For the first time in the years I’ve been doing this however, this morning I did it and it scared me. I realized that this is what dementia must feel like.  How did I get here? Who are these people? That there might come a time when I can’t smile and answer those questions for myself – that there might be a time when I’m asking these questions for real…

I think I have a new appreciation for what it must be like to have Alzheimer’s Disease.

But am I weird for doing this in the first place? Or does everyone do this once in a while?