Who would have thought that when I got that call almost eleven years ago that we would have made it this long? Finding out that you were being financially manipulated by your oldest son. Finding out that you were basically living in your car. Learning that the family had turned their back on you.
I never thought, out of your six children I would be the one to get the call. The one of your six kids that you always made clear you didn’t like. The one child that you would never help. The one child you told “Nobody wants you around.” The one child that always seemed to step up for you whenever needed, well this was no difference.
Who thought that I would move you to the town that I lived in. Help you get you into an apartment and make sure you were safe and comfortable. Who thought I would be the one to step up and make sure you got the medical attention you needed when things seemed a little off. Who thought that I would be the one to step up after the Alzheimer’s, dementia and micro vascular disease diagnosis and mom deciding to divorce you after 50 plus years of marriage.
Who thought I would be the one to be there for you to comfort you during the confusing early stages of this disease? The visits to doctors, counselors and therapists and making sure you were safe and comfortable in your assisted living environment. Who thought I would be the one to see that you were financially set to afford your new living situation?
Who thought that I would be the one to come visit you at least once a week, take you shopping, out to eat and make sure you had some cash in your pocket so that you could attend the outings with the others at your residents? Who thought that I would be the one to be there and the years rolled by and your memory slowly went? Who would have thought I would be the one to still be there when time had finally taken your memory and I was just another stranger in the room?
Well honestly, I never thought it would be me.
Now you can rest. I finally got the call. you finally decided it was time to move on quietly in your sleep. Yes peacefully on the morning of February 1, 2022 your body caught up with your mind and you finally finished the fight.
Dad you are finally at rest. You have moved on to a better place and your memory has returned and you can ask yourself the question. Did I ever think he would be the one there for me out of all my children?
As I entered the room, I could see the gentleman speaking to different people. It was obvious he was struggling understanding what they were saying to him, but that didn’t stop his conversation.
Eventually he worked his way to me as I was resting comfortably in a chair near the door to the courtyard. He started speaking to me. He was telling me about the tough day he was having and the problems he was having there at his job. He commented on what a lovely day it looked like outside and would love to go out.
I told him I would gladly go out to the courtyard with him if he wanted to and he was more than appreciative. We made our way out there and got comfortable in some chairs in a nice shaded area. He was carrying a can of Diet Coke and on multiple occasions offered it to me, I declined.
He introduced himself and told me his name is Sam. I told him “Nice to meet you, my name is Walt.” He said, “Nice tho meet you Paul.” I attempted to correct him on the name, but obviously his hearing wasn’t very good.
He started to tell me about all the ailments he was currently experiencing. His sore ribs from being hit by a small child with a shopping cart. How he was having a hard time eating because of his stomach hurting.
He began telling me about his work and the struggles he was having with his coworkers there at his office. He told me about all of his food and belongings that have come up missing and all the money that had been taken from him.
He started asking me questions about myself. Where I lived. Did I live by myself? Have we ever met before? I tried to answer the questions the beat that I could, but he wasn’t quite understanding.
I tried to ask him about himself. Where he was from. Did he have any family? How long had he been here? He struggled, but for a man in his late 80’s obviously fighting dementia, he did his best.
We continued talking but before you knew it we were talking in circles. He kept asking my name. Where I was from and did I live alone. I started to wind the conversation down because it was getting late and I needed to go.
It appeared I had brought a little enjoyment to his day. He loved the fact that he was outside and had someone to talk to. He really wanted me to stay and have dinner with him, but I needed to go.
Our conversation ended and he thanked me for the visit and invited me back for another visit. He told me to take care and hoped to see me soon and I replied “Me too Dad.”
Alzheimer’s and dementia are hard to deal with for all involved……
As I keep battling anxiety, I have been trying to deal with the root cause of it. I have tried so hard to figure it out so I can release it and let it go. I gave myself a GREAT talking to the other day and I think I may be on to something.
I’ve mentioned in the past my need to “people please” so that I am liked. I’ve mentioned in the past how my parents were never really good at guiding, counseling and supporting me the way a parent should. I’ve mentioned in the past how I’ve always felt like the outsider in most settings, family, friends, social and work. I’ve always felt the need to say “yes” to please others while neglecting my own needs.
I’ve done ALL of this for fear of rejection. Growing up and feeling rejection from your own parents leaves a large hole in one’s soul. It really brings life to such a negative place that you can waste a lifetime thinking you can “fix it” and guess what, you can’t. It has taken me 57 years on this planet to figure this out. The moment the reality of it all hits you in the face, you awaken to all the damage.
Now how do you get past this point? How do you start to get it all turned around in your favor? Honestly, I’m not sure yet, but I have an idea. The first thing I need to do is Stop believing the lies. What lies are those? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself.
Lie #1 – You aren’t a failure –
Just because things haven’t gone to plan. Just because something hasn’t worked out. Just because your business hasn’t succeeded, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. What that means is that you at least tried. Now take the experience and improve on it. Learn what you should have done, not done or maybe just done better. You’re not a failure, you are someone willing to try.
Lie #2 – You are loved –
Unconditional love is the best love in the world, unfortunately I have experienced very little of that in my life. Fortunately my wife and daughter have given me that and I get an over flowing amount of that from my precious grandchildren. Have have spent a majority of my life dwelling on the ones I should have received it from and not celebrating where I was receiving it is where I made a big mistake.
Lie #3 – You are worth it.
I have spent so much of my life feeling worthless, out of place and lacking true direction. I have just floated through life with no true guidance having to figure it out on my own and making mistake after mistake along the way. No parents to rely on and feeling alienated from everyone. I think this lie is the biggest of all and the one that has hurt me the most. I AM WORTH IT!
Now that I have shared what I believe to be three of the biggest lies, I have a lot to do to get past it. I have started that processes by realizing they aren’t true but now I must train myself to accept and live the truth. The truth I will find starts with my faith and trust in my Heavenly Father.
My healing begins. My journey continues. I search for the faith and love in myself.
Everyday I wakeup and wander how did I get here. How did I let my life collapse so much over the past ten plus years that I don’t even know who I am. I get paralyzed by anxiety. I shutdown from fear of making another major mistake. I sit in shame of the damage I have financially done to my wife and myself.
My mind constantly is going over all the decisions I should have made differently. The blind trust I put in others. The disappointment I’ve caused those who put blind trust in me. I fall apart at the life I could have had if I would have just stuck with the status quo 14 years ago, even though I was miserable then just as I am now. The difference then was I had a good income and a career.
I’m quickly typing while I sit on break at my housekeeping job. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve gone from IT management to hospital housekeeper. I’ve gone from cleaning hard drives and networks to toilets and floors, such a motivating life. This is NOT how it’s supposed to be. I am NOT supposed to be here or am I?
I have suffered so much the past two years. Health issues, loss of loved ones, imploding career, failing businessman and a never ending battle with anxiety. You may ask yourself why the sudden meltdown, well because of a conversation I just had with a coworker. I broke my own rule and just listened to him go on about other coworkers. I told myself weeks ago too avoid the break room so to not become part of this life sucking atmosphere, but I didn’t. I have too much to offer skill wise, so why am I here? (Rhetorical question)
I know why I’m here, I GAVE UP! I lost faith in my skills. I quit taking care of myself. I let anxiety control me. I became anti social. I gave up on hope. I’ve become jealous. I’ve become complacent. I gave up on myself. Sitting here subjecting myself to this workplace hostility proves it.
I need to be the change maker. I need to turn my ship in a different direction. I have some hard decisions and times ahead, but for me to head in the direction to find happy and joy, only I, with the help of God can get me there.
It’s this damn anxiety thing. I have so much negativity going on in life that it/me is keeping me from moving forward. The panic attacks are getting to me. Sleeping at times has become almost impossible. I checked out from reality for so long it is hard to get back. The damage my actions or lack of has greatly damaged my family.
The loneliness is killing me. The only people I seem to have to talk to are the professionals that are paid to listen to me. Family and friends have disappeared, I guess the depressed poor me attitude ran everyone off. When I go to work, I am surrounded by bad attitudes and negative personalities. Home isn’t any different, I think the cats are even fed up with me. So where do I go from here?
Get Past the Past
Financially I have an almost impossible mountain to climb. I have spent a lifetime seeking attention, needing to feel wanted. Trying to fit this square peg in a round hole. I can’t seem to shake the demons of my childhood and I let them define my adulthood. I have felt like a failure for over a decade and yet I do nothing to make “real” change. So here I go.
Get Past the Past
I’ve come to realize this needs to be my first step. The causes of my childhood trauma have moved on. They have either passed away or stopped communicating with me years ago. I allow people and events to control me that really have no connection with me anymore. I get anxious over situations that haven’t happen or occurred in the past. It is time to get past it all.
Remove the Toxic and Negative
This is a tough task, but not impossible. I’m surrounded by this and need to rid my life of it. This is what has caused a lot of my issues. Negative people and toxic relationships have been the norm. The positivity needs to start with me.
Square Peg Round Hole
I have felt like the square peg my whole life. Home, school and friendships. I have always felt like the odd man out. I was never option one in the social circles and dealt with a massive amount of ridicule for my weight and family. I never felt good enough so I worked hard at people pleasing, which made no difference.
Reconnect with Reality
Anxiety disconnects you and can push you from reality and cause you to shutdown, I did and it has been devastating. I need to work hard to correct my disastrous mistakes.
I need prayers. I need hope. I need to push forward and find the true enjoyment in life. That’s where I go from here.
You have been there for most of my life, the one constant I could count on. It didn’t matter where I was in life, you were there for me to ALWAYS return to. You were there season after season, year after year, decade after decade. You were not just another house at 602 East Main Street, you were home.
After 50 years, that all ends. Tomorrow you become home to someone else. Home to another family that you will belong to. Home to another family that you can protect from the elements and give a lifetime of memories. Others can spend hours on your large porch visiting neighbors, friends and family. Children can once again run and play in the large yard where many a football, baseball, kick the can, hide and seek and many other adventures and games were enjoyed.
You were the popular spot for many kids in the community to come and play and even enjoy the occasional camp out. You were enjoyed by many and loved by all, you are home.
I have been discussing my anxiety and how it has consumed me, this has been part of it. The house has been empty since my mom passed away. It wasn’t taken care of and is showing it’s age. My mom couldn’t keep up with it and my siblings that lived with her didn’t lift a finger to take care of it. It is a sad situation.
For me, it’s been 35 years since it was my residents, but it was always home. All the neighbors have gone, the town has changed, most of my friends moved on, but you are still home. As I took my final walk through you on Tuesday, the emotions were hard to contain. All the memories good and bad came flooding back and I will always be grateful for you.
I’m hoping once I let you go tomorrow. a little of my anxiety will go with me knowing you will be in the hands of someone else wanting to give you some TLC. I will try to drive by occasionally and give you a wave. I know I haven’t really been there much over the past many years, but the family situation just didn’t allow it.
So tonight I salute you old friend. A house, a memory for a lifetime. Goodbye old friend.
We need to listen, you never know when God may be talking to us. Most of my life I heard “listen to God when He speaks to you.” For years I waited to hear Him speak. I waited to hear His direct words to me. Directing my decisions or actions. Waiting for those words directed at me. It took years to understand it’s not always in words. It can come in actions or a situation that you experience. Today is one of those days.
I have mentioned in past posts that I am working housekeeping in a hospital. This was my weekend to work and like most hospitals with the recent rise in COVID cases our ICU is full. Yesterday while working my shift I noticed the “family cart” sitting outside the door of room 318. The family cart is one the hospital supplies to families as they wait vigilant for their loved one to pass.
Room 318 sits right next to the housekeeping closet so I passed the room several times. What struck me the most was the family cart was outside of the room, but there was no family in the room. There was just an elderly gentleman laying in a bed. I never looked closely at him, I just noticed he was always alone except for the occasional nurse in his room.
Tonight I was finishing up my duties I was returning my cart to the closet and something told me to glance in his room. He was alone in his room as usual. This time was different. I got a closer look. I saw him as he laid there in the bed. He looked peaceful, comfortable. Something was different but I couldn’t put my finger on it, it was just different.
I moved on to finish my schedule for the evening. I was finishing my tasks in another department. It couldn’t have been 15 minutes since I had had left ICU. One of my coworkers came looking for me that there was a room that needed cleaned stat since they had no available rooms. I needed to go to room 318. Yes, in the short time since I left the department he had passed. The peaceful resting man in his room all alone had passed.
I didn’t know the gentleman, I still don’t even know his name. What I do know is that for one brief moment I connected with him. He had someone notice him. In his final moments on this planet he was noticed, he was thought of by someone. The realization of the room I needed to go clean was shocking but seemed like a message. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that I took that final glance into his room.
Tonight was a reminder of how precious life is. What a gift we have and when it ends where do you want to be? I have been struggling with crippling anxiety. My life is in such a disastrous situation in so many ways. I have been paralyzed by my anxiety of my failures of the past and my perception of my the failure my future appears to be, yes my perception. It just took a moment like tonight to know God is speaking to me.
I was reminded of how fragile life is. I was reminded we don’t know the day or time we will be called home. How can I fear my future when I don’t know what it is. How can I regret my past since I never would have been here for that one moment today if I made different decisions in the past. Tonight is a life changer. Tonight brings clarity to light. Tonight brings me hope, joy and peace into my life. Tonight opens up my heart in how to truly listen for God’s Words. He spoke to me and I hopefully heard Him like He wanted me to. So now when I want to reflect on God’s true love for us, I only need to remember John 3:16 and Room 318.
I’m continuing to evaluate my mental health and working hard to improve it. I have been living in a mental fog for over a decade and sentenced myself to self isolation. I have little to no social life. Friends have disappeared and I have no family relationships, other than my wife and daughter.
I have lost joy in most things in life because I can’t afford the thing that always brought me joy. I sit in my self imposed depression watching everyone else around living life while I sit here stuck. Stuck in an endless circle of self pity and hate. Angering myself at a past that I can’t change and panicking over a future that hasn’t happened. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
I realize life will never be perfect. I realize continually beating myself up for all of my past mistakes, is getting me nowhere. I need to stop in the present and look around at the gifts I do have. Appreciate the moment and if I catch myself looking at the future, realize it’s awesome possibilities.
It is time for JOY. It is time for HAPPINESS. It is time I raise my head enjoy this life God has given me. I need to let go of the anxiety that is consuming me. I need to face my demons, face my misfortunes, but most of all admit my wrongs and move forward.
What has spurred this on, my job. I have been working housekeeping in a hospital. When I work on the weekends, I am in the ICU and it is a sad place to be especially during this pandemic. I see people facing the end of their life and it is too hard to handle. I imagine that it is me in the room and how sad it would be if my life ended today. ITS TIME TO WAKEUP!
So now it’s time to make choices. So here is what I choose.
1. Faith. Live my life as my higher power would want me to. My higher power is God. God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. I will renew and grow my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
2. Health. Without good health the rest won’t matter. I started this blog for my journey to a better health, physical and mental. Time to make this priority a top priority.
3. Live, Laugh, Love. I haven’t done any of these who heartedly for longer than I can remember. I need to return to the fun loving man I was and always ready for a new adventure.
This is where I’ll start. Working on these areas of my life will lead to improvement in all other areas of my life. I’m ready to start now. As soon I post this I am getting up and heading to a local park for a walk and let the healing begin.
So who is with me? Time to get a grip on life. Time to enjoy this life. Accountability is key so I’m making myself accountable to those that read this blog. I can’t and WILL do this. It’s all on our choices.
I feel like Rip Van Winkle. I feel as though I fell asleep one day and the life I had and knew is now gone. I have awakened to a life that is everything I ever feared and more. It sickens me to know I have gotten to where I’m at and I ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN!
My business, my finances, my career, my life and my marriage all seem to be heading towards ruin. My ability to do what’s right has been stopped by fear. Fear of so many different things has stopped me from succeeding in life and I ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN!
I have been through counseling for over 20 years off and on. I went through an intensive outpatient program 18 months ago for depression, anxiety and PTSD. I have been given tools and medication to help “control” it. Bad things just keep on occurring and I ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN!
Yes, I allowed it to happen so I need to be the one to reverse it all. Find my joy and happiness. Live a life where a panic attack doesn’t strike me multiple times a day. I need to train my mind not to swim in my mistakes of the past. Dwell on all of my lost relationships. Constantly relive all the wrong that has happened to me and the wrong I have done to others. I need to quit becoming paralyzed by my fear of what the future might hold if things don’t change.
I need to quit beating myself up for not providing for my family for so many years. I need to quit living the lie that I was told that I would never amount to anything. I have to let go of all the ugliness of my childhood and realize it is NOT my fault. I do have to admit my errors and mend whatever fences that I can.
I have to lift my heart to my higher power and begin the healing. I need tho lift my heart to my higher power and strengthen my hope and faith. I need to lift my heart to my higher power and truly speak the words of forgiveness of myself. My wife reminds me that not being able to forgive myself is a sin.
My journey to a happy and healthier me continues. My physical health is greatly affected by my mental health so it’s time to get it in check. I need for this anxiety to take a hike. I want to sometime in the near future post about my joy and happiness and I ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN.