Thursday, 28 August 2014

Running To Stand Still

The sunshine is distracting me. The cool winds of the last few days have disappeared, replaced by a warm breeze brushing my face. The sun sneaks in through the shutter cracks of the newsroom window and like a school-child daydreaming, I find myself longing to be outdoors.

It's the kind of day to go to the park and gather conkers; to lie in the grass with your beau, creating shapes out of clouds and daisy chains for your wrist. It's the kind of day to smell flowers in bloom and kick fallen leaves and breathe in the sweet air deeply.

Perhaps the events of the last few days have stirred a particular longing for freedom within me - a desire to mitch off work, turn off the phone, head to the hills and not look back. But life doesn't quite work that way, does it?

The beginning of this week was anchored with worry. My Mum was in pain, and I knew it - and I didn't know what to do to stop it. I've mentioned before how there's a family feud going on with my sister... and to save this post turning into a rant, I'm not going to get into it. But the longer is drags on - the endless silences, the unanswered phonecalls from my Mum to her, the sudden and seemingly absolute decision for her to cease contact with her family - the harder the reality gets.

But I know that the pain for my Mum is more than I can ever imagine. There's a special kind of heartache reserved for a Mum in this situation, any Mum. But my Mum - beautiful, willful and devoted - never gives up on people. Which makes this, this senseless abandonment, all the more bitter.

She's hurting over the weekend and I know she is. She keeps telling me she's fine, it's grand - it's not. How could it be? I keep an eye on her but between work, my course work and a birthday on Saturday with more drama than an episode of Made in Chelsea, I'm exhausted. She's exhausted. Sunday is spent in a quiet lull, broken up by our Chinese takeaway and a few chats.

I'm not there for her on Monday as much as I should've been. I'm currently in the process of weaning myself off the sleeping tablets I've been on for a year and a half. Sunday night is devoid of restful sleep and Monday is plagued by physical side-effects of withdrawal. I'm cranky and tapped out and my day off is spent dossing around the house, spending time on my own. I should've found the energy to support her more.

I'm woken in the middle of the night by the sound of furniture being moved around. I drag myself out of bed and find that Mum has decided to rearrange her bedroom. I grumpily exchange some words about how I'm trying to sleep and I'm up for work at 7am, before groggily stumbling back into bed in a vain attempt to get back to sleep. I know that this is a sign of her agitation, her frustration at the impossible situation she's been thrust into.

I text her early the next morning to apologize for being grumpy. I don't get a response. I try calling her on my lunch break, as I do everyday, and don't get an answer. The knot that's been in my stomach all morning doubles in size and I know, I know, there's something desperately wrong.
 
The other day, talking about something else, I said to my Mum that all of us experience events in our lives that marks us. There are certain hurts, certain injustices, that leave shadows on the soul. As humans, we're resilient. We'll generally find a way to carry on, to continue to live - but there are some thing's that never leave you, some thing's that change you irrevocably.

This split with my sister is doing this to my Mum and I'm fast running out of options to try ease it. I've tested, called, instant messaged and emailed my sister, begging her to speak to my Mum, that this ridiculousness is hurting her beyond belief. I haven't heard anything back.

On my break from work, I meet up with the boyfriend as I sip a cup of tea to heat me up. I'm an emotional mess. He patiently listens and try's to comfort me, but every nerve ending is wound up, everything in my gut tells me that my Mum is in a really bad place. I try call her again, no answer. I become very scared of going home; scared of what I'll find, if something has happened, if I'm too late, if I've failed.

Around 3pm, she calls. She doesn't sound good and our brief chat does little to alleviate my worry. Kells Bells goes around for a cuppa with her off her own bat, and when I finally get to leave work, I ask her how she thinks my Mum is doing. She says it's clear that this situation is really hurting her.

I come home with a pretty kimono for her that I know she'll like and a packet of cigarettes. The attempt to make her better feels empty to me, although she's touched at the thought.

We sit down and have a long, honest talk, and while my fears weren't completely unfounded, the important thing is her decision to not act on her thoughts. I explain to her that more than anything else, the thought of her feeling that hurt and that defeated breaks my heart. If there was anything in this world I could do to to protect her and make sure she never felt such sorrow again, I would do it. She's had more than her fair share and she doesn't deserve this latest wound.

She's vulnerable and I know it's not a term she would apply to herself, but she is. We all are at times. It's a terrible truth that any one of us, consumed by a darkness that feels never-ending, can contemplate things we never normally would. That doesn't mean we all act on it, but I don't think there's many adults who can't identify with feelings of hopelessness.

We talk, trying to make sense of a senseless situation, and I try to convey to her how I'm always here, she's never alone. I think we both feel a little better after it but when the boyfriend and I are flaked on the couch later, I allow myself to reveal the extent of my worry. I might have won this battle, but I feel like the war is out of my hands.

At times, I'm scared that I'm just buying time. At times, I feel very alone and very incapable. At times, I feel like I fail, over and over, to protect her. I'm encouraging her to go talk to someone, I know I'm not enough. My fallibility scares me, I don't want to let her down when she needs me the most.

We have a pleasant day yesterday; we go to town, get new wallpaper for the sitting room and pick up a few other bits and bobs. Exhaustion hits me just before we go for coffee and my mind becomes clouded by thoughts and worries. It's the only blight on the day. We go home, I spend the afternoon cooking and baking, but I can't shake the tiredness. The pursuit of sleep once again, a fruitless venture. I doze off near dawn, far too close to my alarm going off to tell me to get up for work.
 
It's a strange day. My emotions are all over the place and I feel a bit overwhelmed, which I suppose is normal. Mum seems in good spirits today, but I worry all the same. I know the repercussions of what's happening will come in waves.

There's nothing on this earth that I wouldn't do for her. She is incredibly strong, but none of us are bulletproof. The question of how to help rings in my mind. I always try to have a plan, figure out what to do. But right now, I don't know what to do at all.
 
Mucho Love,
 
Vicky xoxo
 
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