This is the story of Pam and John; she in her early 50’s and John is 62. Pam is a college professor. John taught at a local community college until diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2008, then Lewy Body Dementia in April.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

appreciating what I have

I have trouble enjoying what I do still have with John, which is a lot, because I am grieving so what is lost. Instead of appreciating what he can still do, I resent what I now have to do. I've been trying to work through this by accepting my feelings. What has worked for me in the past with difficult feelings is to go through my anger and resentment, let myself feel those feelings, and eventually I will be able to get past them (while if I try to suppress them they will never go away). But it doesn't seem to be working.

I think the reason it is not working is that I have not been able to fully get past my resentment over the things I didn't get from my mother (like a safe childhood). I'm not willing to appreciate the things she did/does give me because she didn't give me things I critically needed as a child. So I easily get stuck in child feelings of "it isn't enough." But I don't know how to heal that further with my mother either.

So I am beating myself up about being stuck in anger and resentment. John used to express concern that I was feeling bad about feeling bad. Maybe I just need to give it more time. But I'm wondering what other ways out there might be.


Elderly lady in training said...

First of all I think your blog is excellent. There must be many many people experiencing similar feelings to yours who will be greatly helped when they discover that they are not alone.

Secondly, in my experience it’s impossible to force myself to feel differently about something. What I can do more successfully, though, is take a decision not to think about something which I feel bad about, for a period of time.

For example I was once rather worried about a personal health issue. I was due to go on holiday, and seriously wondered how many more holidays I might have. I decided that there was nothing I could do about the problem while I was away, so the best thing was to try not to even think about it until I got back. Somewhat to my surprise this worked and I had a very good holiday. Fortunately it tuned out to be a false alarm – as worries so often do turn out to be. However worrying could very easily have spoilt the holiday for me – and for my family.

Anonymous said...

Hi from Australia,

I left a comment the other day. My Dad has LBD.

Our situations are similar but very different too. I can only imagine what it would be like having my partner in life not well.
Of course I would be angry...having worked together for this time for us. Resentment, deprived, grief but something has to keep you on the cliff. The abyss in retrospect may be filled with regret. Sounds harsh but after reading your post and even before I read Elderly Lady in Training's comments what came to mind was a Buddhist tale some one told me years ago...
'A chap is walking through a jungle and falls into a deep pit. As he falls he becomes aware that there is a tiger at the bottom. Whilst falling he notices a vine climbing the walls. But its too delicate to be of help. He then sees on the vine the most beautiful flower he has ever seen.
He chooses to spend that time, those moments, filled with the beauty of the flower'.
If you spend too much time thinking about the future, one you will go nuts but most importantly you will lose the moments. It may be difficult for you to stop analysing things, sure be aware, be armed but then try to turn that off...living in the moment preserves my sanity. I truly hope this can help.
My sanity and well being is paramount...it has to be. I have degree in law, my mind is used to forseeable risks, always projecting forawrd. The above are my tools...as I said I hope its of use.