This was my planned post today, but in a bit of of lovely serendipity, it was also the subject for my friend Anita Ojeda on her brilliant blog, Blessed But Stressed. Give her a visit, won't you? And please include her in your prayers, as she'll be facing surgery tomorrow.
We're also linked with Messy Marriage's Wedded Wednesday, and Coffee & Conversation.
When someone you love is dying, it's hard...harder for you than for me, the soon-to-be-dead dude.
I have to worry about getting through the day, and that's it. Survival is my primary focus, and to some degree I take advantage of the fact that I get a pass on some things. No one really expects me to be a scintillating conversationalist, or to be interested in their Fantasy Football achievements (what IS Fantasy Football, anyway?).
If I zone out in the middle of a conversation because I'm bored rigid, no one will call me on it.
But Barbara...oh, dear. She has to function as a caregiver, and she has to function in The World, where the death-at-your-elbow paradigm of the terminal caregiver's life is assiduously ignored. (If I refuse to contemplate death, it won't happen to me, eh?)
She's caught exactly between the transcendent and the temporal, and it's tearing her up. And she has meltdowns.
And she has the right to them, in whatever form they serve her best.
Sometimes they seem as though they're directed at me;that's natural, and it's OK. Something caused this change in her life, the ruination of her hopes to grow old with the man she loved.
Being angry at a bunch of rogue cells is a bootless enterprise, like trying to kick down a three-strand barbed wire fence.
Being angry at God works, but in the end it's not 'serious'; God knows, and she knows that God knows that it's just a temper tantrum, from His perspective. His love will wash away the tears.
But now they're flowing, they hurt, and they need a target.
In the absence of other targets, I'm it.
And that's OK, because it's my job - one of the few responsibilities still gainsayed me, in this parlous state- to take in the anger and the sorrow and the venom,and let it pass through the filter of grace.
She needs a safe place to have a meltdown at the end of the day. She needs to exercise the anger, and not keep that blind Samson shackled to a pair of columns.
I can do this.
If all of the philosophical and religious stuff I've written mean anything, if they're not just highfalutin' gas, this is the place to show it, if there's ever a place.
Dying is easy. You just get worse every day, and fight hard every moment.
Carrying those who will be alive and remain...that's hard, because it's truly the call of Christ, to live the servant's life, to accept the coming sacrifice and give it before it's demanded.
I can be the caregiver to my caregiver.
And ensure that none of us walk alone.