I smiled my ass of on Sunday; despite all of the medical drama going on with our family, I painted my face all up and trekked to the city- sans-MiniLatte to enjoy dinner and a concert with my hubby. It was a blast, and I feel guilty as shit. I know I shouldn't, however, according to my therapist, it's a very common emotional response to an experience such as mine. It's called survivor's guilt and is actually a form of PTSD. Even though there wasn't a shared event between us that landed my mom in the hospital and not me, this extended hospitalization is a traumatic event that is dramatically shaping our lives and I have to cope with the fall out and the emotions that go with this. Trust me, I've been doing my share of bargaining to wish my mom healthy again.
Back in February, with just a little under a week to go until Mom came for her visit; I had one of those red-letter days- work was fantastic; the weather was summer-like and I came home to two e-mails; one congratulating me for getting picked for a Meet & Greet with Blake Shelton at his upcoming concert, and the other with pre-sale tickets for one of my favorite bands- Train- for their San Francisco tour. I was beyond excited. I frantically called my mom until she picked up the phone because I was so excited to share all of the good news. Not that any of it benefited her, but because she is always so supportive of me. As usual our phone conversation was uplifting and filled with laughter- we could do that, make each other laugh over nearly anything, our sense of humor are very similar (is that genetic??!!).
There have been so many celebratory events since she went in the hospital- St. Patrick's Day, our ten year anniversary; her 62nd birthday, Easter that have been low key and glazed over. All-out celebrating just doesn't feel right, nor do I have the energy. We've also managed to go to two concerts and a basketball game during this time. The outings are much needed distractions and although fun, I spent most of the time feeling guilty for attempting to have a good time while my incredible mother is bed-ridden, a prisoner in her own body..... I'm somewhat rational and realize that my presence either in the hospital or elsewhere isn't going to change the outcome of her prognosis for that day. It just doesn't feel right to be having a good time either; it also doesn't feel right to wallow in negative emotions. There isn't a happy medium right now- if there was, I'd give anything to find it- I'd give so much more to wave a magic wand and make her instantly better.
I also know that if she could talk, my mom would tell me to laugh, smile and play. She wouldn't want me to be missing out on living and in fact is probably feeling like shit herself for thinking that I'm sacrificing for her. I am, but that is just something that you do for someone that you love so very much. I know that if this situation instead was myself and MiniLatte, I would tell her to go, live, laugh, play.
I also have a hard time with the conversations with her- I used to talk to her when I was stressed before and she would tell me that she wished she could be right there with me. Well, now she is, but she isn't. Is she thinking that, and it's having a detrimental effect on her emotional well-being? I tell her a story and she cries. She can't tell me why- it breaks my heart. I can't even really talk about the weather.... It's exhausting. What should I do......