The ABC’s of how I’m feeling:
A is for ANGRY
B is for BITTER
C is for CRANKY
Clearly I’m doing this A-to-Z Challenge all wrong.
I feel angry.
And not kind.
I hung up on Time-Warner yesterday. Told them we were switching to Direct TV.
I’m not happy with them.
I posted a rant yesterday and almost immediately the person I ranted about contacted me. I was in the midst of a conversation with a different friend.
“I should have said something to her before I posted it,” I told my friend about my other friend — are you following this? Too many unnamed friends, I know.
But I knew the right way to handle the situation — and I didn’t do it. I posted a stupid blog post. (It has since been edited.)
This is how not to do things, kids. Talk to people who upset you. Don’t rant on your blog. Do as I say, not as I do.
I believe in handling things the right way and in kindness. Sometimes belief isn’t enough. We have to actually do it.
I’m working to memorize Isaiah 58, a chapter where God is dealing with a people who are oblivious to their sin.
“Look at me fasting,” they say to God. “Look at my sackcloth and ashes. Look how humble I am. Why aren’t you noticing any of this?”
And God says to them, “I really want you to be nice to each other. Don’t be grumpy. Don’t strike out at people. I want you to fast from your meanness. Put that aside instead of food. Undo someone’s yoke. Feed a hungry person. Invite a homeless person into your home. Sheesh!”
He didn’t really say the “sheesh” part. I added that.
But you get the point.
Can I just say here, in the depths of this post where few people will probably read, that life is hard right now? My father is struggling — and he doesn’t even know he’s struggling.
“You’re not thinking clearly,” my brother and I told him, ganging up on him to persuade him to have a medical test which may put us on a path to improvement.
“That’s what they keep telling me,” he said, in a tone that showed that he clearly didn’t believe a word of it.
It reminded me of a post that I had long since taken down. The post, from April 2011, had been called “Four Questions.”
It ends with kindness — which works for “K”.
I asked my mother this question one day when we were in the car, “Mom, do you know what Alzheimer’s is?”
She knew the answer. “It’s a condition where people can’t think sensibly,” she responded.
Yes, it is. It’s not a condition where someone doesn’t think sensibly. They can’t. And yet, sometimes, they can. Like being able to answer that question with a pretty concise response shows some sensible thinking.
Yesterday my mother handed me a sheet of address labels that had come in the mail to her.
“These are for you,” she said.
“I can’t use these, Mom,” I told her. “They have your name and address on them.” I tried handing them back to her, but she pushed them over to me again.
“That way you won’t forget me,” she replied.
I felt a little ache in my heart at those words. “Mom, I won’t forget you,” I reassured. “Will you forget me?” I asked it, even though I already knew the answer.
“Oh, no,” she said. “I’ll never forget you.”
But moments later, she forgot that she had even given me the address labels and took them back to her pile of things. She removed one and stuck at the bottom of a note she had written herself about dinner with a friend. It was a dinner with a friend that had taken place months or years ago. She had forgotten. But she stuck the address label on the bottom of the note.
“This will help me remember,” she said. Oh, if only it were that easy.
Alzheimer’s is a condition where people can’t think sensibly. The varying pieces of information that are constantly coming at us are no longer being filtered correctly in the mind of someone with Alzheimer’s. It’s impossible to make sense of it all.
When my parents were going through some of the clutter that had accumulated at their house, my father picked up a kitschy dog made out of golf balls. “We could probably get rid of this,” he said.
“Are you going to get rid of me?” she asked. With the filters missing, that was what she heard.
“You’re too valuable,” he told her. “We’re not going to get rid of you.” She still has value. She needed to hear that.
In difficult situations, so many people show little kindnesses. With my mother’s Alzheimer’s, people have been so kind. Total strangers, long-time friends and family members have all pitched in to keep my mother safe and to make life easier for my father. I know my father appreciates it, but I often wonder if my mother is even aware.
Yesterday, she answered the unasked question I have had for a long time. Are you aware of all the things people do for you?
She was looking for my brother. “He’s up at his house, Mom, right next door,” I told her.
“That’s right,” she said. “He has been so nice. Every night he brings dinner right down to us so I don’t have to fix anything.”
Yes, he does. And his wife does. And I’m so glad you recognize that. Even if you don’t always recognize me. I know it’s because you can’t think sensibly.