Monday, April 27, 2009

So tired

I'm just overwhelmingly tired.

People keep telling me to take care of myself, and take care of my baby, and to put us first. But what does this mean, practically speaking? And when your familiy is in crisis, how do you do this?

I mean, I sleep, I eat, I go out and exercise. Yesterday I got my hair done. Last night Nick and I went out for dinner. Today I'm back at work.

But how do you not worry? How do you turn any of it off? And how do you not stay centrally involved?

Put us first. If I had a baby in front of me, it would be easy. I mean, horrendously hard at the moment, but very clear. His needs would all come first. They'd have to.

But in this case, I'm hauling him around with me all the time. He's the main reason I don't sleep. And in-utero babies function like parasites, unkind as it sounds. All their needs get met before anyone else's.

So I can't not go to the hospital. I can't not check in on my dad.

And in going, even though he's looking better, and in the right place, I can't shut out the overwhelming fear and sadness and tiredness that accompanies it.

So when the teenager across the hall kept ranting about how he'd taken five Ativan and he still couldn't sleep and look how high his blood pressure was the last time they took it and aren't they going to do anything about it?

"Somebody needs to do something about this!"

My response was to turn to Nick and ask if he'd mind smothering the guy with a pillow.

You don't stop being who you are, you know? And people think I'm a nice person.

That was a sidebar.

But you know, I also can't not spend time with my mom. I can't not make sure Betty is doing as OK as possible.

I can't not. I have to.

My brother chose to abdicate all responsibility. He no longer has a family beyond his wife and kids. We don't exist, so he doesn't have to deal.

For him, people - including Nick, who spoke with him - say, this is self-preservation.

I think it's selfish assholery. He's a small, selfish person who doesn't want to be inconvenienced. But maybe this is a difference of perspective. Or semantics.

Me, I want to have a mother. I want to have a father. I want my kid to have a grandfather who will get down on the floor and play with him and hug him and kiss him and tell him he's great. And this kind of behavior only comes from my side of the family.

In other words, he needs to have my dad in his life.

I'm not willing to walk away, just because they're complicated, just because this is exhausting, relentlessly exhausting. And I don't know how to have distance, particularly when I don't trust the hospital to push for a solution without vigilance.

A solution.

I mean that, of course, in short-term fix kind of way.

Because the solution? What's the solution?

It's just brutally exhausting.


  1. I don't have wise words of my own and I refuse to throw any platitudes at you, so I will just say that I'm thinking of you and Nick and Betty and your dad and I hope you all start to feel better soon. And I hope your brother wakes the fuck up because self-preservation is incredibly selfish.

  2. I'm thinking about you and your family. I have no idea how to have more distance than you have. No clue. Whenever my brother starts his drama, I can't NOT get wrapped up too. I wish I knew the answer. For all of us.

    As for your brother, self preservation is what you are doing. Sleeping, eating, having time with Nick and the boy. What he's doing? Who the fuck knows. I'm sorry you have to deal with that on top of everything else.

    I'll keep hoping/praying for a good outcome to all of this. Even a long term good outcome!

  3. More than anything, I feel sad for your brother. That he is missing out on who your father really is. He's like that little kid that puts his fingers in his ears and says "la la la la lalalalala"

    Either way, we're all complicated. We're all screwed up and we all NEED each other. But truly knowing your parents is such a gift. Bad, good, ugly, and everything in between. At least YOU know that you will never have regrets about the type of child you chose to be and the kind of love you give your father. As for your brother? Me thinks that he'll end up with regret.

  4. First of all, you ARE a nice person. I bet you were the only person who actively thought of an efficient solution to that teenager's angsty ranting. Hmph!

    I think that by doing what you have to, you ARE taking care of some parts of yourself. And it's important to recognize that.

    Don't be afraid to ask for help, either. With anything. Especially from me.

  5. I have a pillow and I'm not afraid to use it.

    ...On your brother, that is.


  6. Hillary - Thank you for the support and the good thoughts. He is incredibly selfish, and who knows if/when he'll wake up.

    Cheryl S - I know. It would be good to know how to be involved without being totally wrapped up. I have more distance and boundaries than I used to, but I think this is as far as I get. Thank you for your hopes and prayers!

    Sarah - It is a very immature solution, as you point out. And I cannot imagine that he won't have regrets. And I can't imagine that his kids won't have resentment, once they get old enough to wonder about family.

    Dagny - It was either that or yell "shutupshutupshutup!" which is hardly constructive, given the circumstances. Plus could probably get a visitor thrown out.

    Thank you. I won't hesitate to ask you, I really won't.

    LiLu - I always want to be on your good side, and I love you how staunchly you have my back.

  7. Whatever you're doing is just right.
    Lately when I've been overwhelmed (own family issues) I ask myself, what WON'T I need to appoligize to the kid for when she's older, and I aim for that- not that I reach it. It mostly comes up when I think I should be spending time doing the dishes instead of enjoying the babe- I would recommend hiring someone to clean right now to get a possible stresser off of your plate.

  8. Everyone has a different way of coping. It's hard to understand why some people behave the way they do. My brother died very suddenly 7 years ago, an my dad didn't go to his funeral. Many people were shocked/horrified at that, but that was just his way of dealing with it. I keep having to remind myself "who am I to judge someone?" even though it is REALLY hard. Maybe your brother is just coping the best he can - by holing up with people he loves who understand him. Maybe he just can't take the hurt/pain/anger anymore, and his way of coping right now is just ignoring it.

  9. i think taking care of yourself in this case means forcing yourself to tune into your mental and body health to avoid trying to be superwoman. if it's even somewhat possible, think of it a little bit like the baby is already here and the baby is... you!

    so if you can tune into your body and realize you are getting exhausted at some point if you can stop what you are doing and put your feet up for 15 minutes just think of it as though the baby needs a nap. or if you feel yourself getting really stressed out or sad, go get hugs from your mom or Nick and just think that the baby needs to be cuddled and soothed, try to redirect your thoughts toward visions of positive outcomes and positive baby thoughts.

    even though you are on a rough sea right now with everything going on, just see if you can create a little bit of bubble for yourself (aka the baby) and check yourself in to retreat there when you need it, like a cabin on the boat where there is less rocking and rolling. and the cabin is decorated like a nursery. ;)

  10. On a basic level, I think taking care of you and the baby means what you're doing--sleeping, eating, exercising.

    But on a mental level, taking care of you means exactly what you said--being there with your dad, with Betty, doing what you can. There's nothing wrong with that, and in many ways, it's very admirable.

    Keep it up, but don't forget to listen to your body and take small breaks, mentally or physically, when you need them. That's not abdicating or asshatery, it's just plain common sense. Eventually, you won't be able to be there for them if you aren't up to even taking care of yourself. I think you're doing a very balanced job of both.

  11. I think it's more cowardice than self-preservation. Your brother is afraid of being hurt so he runs away before he can be. You, on the other hand, are brave enough to risk it. And really? You're fucking amazing. That kiddo is going to have a badass Mama.

    I wish there was something I could do to make it easier. Please let me know if you think of something. xo

  12. continue on as you have been . . . pregnancy in and of itself is exhausting, and your dad's situation is compounding this. i still can't believe your brother can't get past whatever his problem is and try to be of some help to you and your (and his!) family - that just sucks.

  13. I have no solutions, only hugs and good wishes, and echoes of what's already been said. So I just read what's above and say, "ditto."

    Nice, by the way, is too trite a term. What you are is phenomenal. This is not news to anyone who's met (or even read) you. Just saying.

    Big hugs.

  14. Oh Lis. Things are so complicated. I wish they were simpler, but trust me, the universe won't put you through anything you weren't meant to handle. This will make you stronger, make you wiser, and make everything else fall into perspective.

    But one thing really hit home to me, because I also have family that I love so dearly but have self-destructive tendencies. I need for them to be there, and I'm willing to do whatever it is I can to help them stay here with me as long as I can. They're just too beautiful to let slip away.

  15. i've read your blog for a little while but never commented.

    my aunt is having health issues as well, she had to move in with my mother and father. it seems to suck up all the extra time i have in the world. my brother has come for a week here and there but my sister and father, who live in the same house as my mother and aunt CANNOT be bothered to help out at all. my mother actually called me crying that she had not been able to take a shower in days. i know how hard it can be for the person who's sick, the main person who takes care of them and the family who cares enough to get involved.

    i'm sorry you're having such a hard time and i'm sorry i have nothing to say to help.

  16. Mary - I think that sounds like a very reasonable approach. There are things that seem important, and things that are actually important, and sometimes it's hard to sort out which is which in the moment.

    Tia - You make an excellent point, and it's a very fair, reasonable way to look at things. But in this case it's is pretty much impossible for me NOT to judge him, particularly as I'm one of the people he has chosen to abandon. I just can't be a bigger person in this instance.

    xuxE - Thank you thank you. I love you! I am not very good at stepping back and making a bubble (although starting Wednesday I'm physcially removing myself for a week - yay!) but it's a very healthy way to start thinking and being.

    Sarah - Thank you for saying that. I don't know if I am or not. Sometimes I feel OK, and sometimes I feel like I'm hanging on by my fingernails.

    FreckledK - I believe it's cowardice, I do. And thank you - I will definitely take you up on that if I can think of something, sweetie.

    LJ - It does suck, it really does. It really hurts my feelings.

    Brian - Ah, thanks, friend. I don't deserve all that, but I really appreciate it. Big hugs to you.

    Jo - Yah. Things are always complicated, aren't they? I wish they were simpler, too, for all of us.

    You are exactly right in the way you put it. I totally feel it.

    mylittlebecky - Oh, I'm so sorry. That's a terrible situation for you and your mother to be in. It can be incredibly time consuming, and it's really hard to understand just watching and not offering to help.

  17. I just want to say, hang in there. You are amazing.


Tell me about it.