On the Way to Being Myself

It’s comforting to know that I can do what I need to do when I need to do it.  I’m pleased that I can step up to the plate in the split second of necessity and perform with a modicum of grace.

Especially when I have gone through a week of self-tortured internal brattiness.  Why, after all of these years, do I put myself through such agony of resistance?  Why do I waste time mentally fighting a future that is unavoidable?

Of course, I will be kind to my brother-in-law who is re-learning many mental and physical functions after his stroke.  If I couldn’t do it for him, I would surely do it for my sister who is crushed under the weight of his constant care.

But you may be able to imagine my mental heels dug in as I loaded the car.  Or my imaginary emergency brake not quite released on the freeway north.

It was simply fear.

I wasn’t worried about the work.  I love to cook.  I’m able to fit myself into the comfort zone of my sister’s kitchen because I can be useful and she’s just grateful to have one load removed from her shoulders.  I can cook and freeze and shop and plan.  (Well, with the help of a half of a chocolate cake when Trader Joe’s frustrated me…why does everyone love that store so much?)

But the constant togetherness terrified me.  Knowing that someone needs my total attention brings out all of my claustrophobic tendencies.  I could imagine myself hiding in my room playing video games.  Instead, I have been playing War and simple poker games in a sort of therapy for his damaged brain that whiles away the hours before bedtime.

And don’t think I wasn’t squeamish.  What about his modesty?  Would I have to be alone and in charge?    Although,  in the end (no pun intended), we are all old enough to be pragmatic and clinical and take care of physical needs without much fuss.

Overall, my recalcitrance played out my fear of wanting to run when I should stay, of wanting be alone when I should be a help, and wanting to sit quietly when I should talk, or listen or be entertaining, or…

Unfounded fear.

Because I can do whatever is needed. I can be a companion.  I can be a caregiver.  I can be a caterer.  I can be a comfort.  I can absorb sadness and anxiety.  I can be a sister.



  1. You do have a way of speaking the unspoken — thank you for your beautiful insights and honesty! (BTW, this cold front makes memories of that gorgeous beach all the more treasured!)


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