All of Your Glory

To hear the audio file of this blog: 

 

I could never understand how family members wouldn’t go visit their loved ones in long term nursing care facilities. I thought to myself, “How selfish of them” to not be able to dedicate an hour a day, or a few hours on the weekend. I mean, how could someone say they loved and truly cared for their family member and just forget they were even there and needed help? Well, I understand it now. At least a little bit. And I truly apologize for the judgment. How dare I think that seeing deteriorating family members would be easy?

When my grandmother stopped living with me, I fell into a deep depression. And when I say “deep”, I mean DEEEEEEEP. My depression was a mix of all of these just truly intense emotions. I was experiencing an overwhelming sense of anger and hate, shame and helplessness, and sadness. At any given moment, all of these emotions were geared toward myself, my husband, or the world. Seriously…the world, because the system of caring for our seniors is disgusting and cruel. With all of those emotions being felt in every pore of my body, it felt as though there was a layer of flames hovering in an outline my skin. I was fuming every day, all day. I was just emotionally raw and with that rawness, the thought of seeing my grandmother became more and more difficult for me to take. She was confused and sad and upset. She immediately went into survival mode, ignoring us and just laughing with the CNAs to make sure they liked her and were pleasant with her. She was angered by the sight of us. Tata would quickly try to usher us out one day or just cry the next day. All I could do was imagine how I would feel in that situation – loss of language, utterly confused, in a different environment, loss of mental capacity, no control on when I eat, what I eat, where I can go, no independence, and alone. For 24 hours a day. Every day. Those thoughts would race in my head over and over again until the anxiety became unbearable. I would break down in tears on the bus and turn around. The anxiety would build up so much that I had to completely shut my mind down in order to avoid completely losing it altogether. I would hide under the covers and block everyone and everything out. I would even just zone out watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t actually watching the show. I just needed the constant noise and visual to put me in a trance. And at work, if anyone dared to ask me how I felt, I would get angry because I knew they really didn’t want to know. And I knew they couldn’t really understand. And I knew, that more than anything, in order for me to function and do the bare minimum of my job, I needed to go on autopilot without acknowledging any feelings whatsoever.

It took almost an entire year before I could go visit Tata again. I still had a great deal of shame. Who am I kidding? I still do have a great deal of shame. Not dedicating my life to her as I did when she lived with me? It is shameful to me. So how was I able to finally walk through the doors of the facility? I forgave myself and only because a song came on Grey’s that actually penetrated my trance. I found out that the song was All of Your Glory by Broods. I immediately found the song on Spotify and started breaking down. Now, I have no idea of the original meaning of this song, but I could imagine the lyrics to this song so clearly being a conversation between me and Tata.

Me:
Darling I know, you only cry when you’re alone
Darling I know, you only laugh to keep it all in
It’s scaring the both of us, the things that we’ve seen
The places we know we must go
But I’ve only loved one person through all
Tata:
Don’t need an apology to make it right
I just need you as a whole
Don’t want an apology to make it right
I want you in all of your glory
All of your glory
Me:
You know before me, the people that we, were meant to be
But I’m only trying to be who I thought, you needed
It’s killing the both of us, the place that we’re in
All the things we’ve come to
No amount of chaos can keep me from you
Tata:
Don’t need an apology to make it right
I just need you as a whole
Don’t want an apology to make it right
I want you in all of your glory
Don’t need an apology to make it right
I just need you as a whole
Don’t want an apology to make it right
I want you in all of your glory
All of your glory
Oh, all of your glory
That song….that song was my therapy. I had it on replay and just cried it all out. The next day, I put that song on while on the bus home and I suddenly had the strength to go see my grandmother again. As soon as our eyes locked and I said “hi, Tata”, I hurried to her side, gave her a huge hug, and we started to cry. Tata forgave me. Tata still loved me and welcomed me. I still struggle with the fact that she doesn’t live with me and that I can’t be with her first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I still have anger at the fact that she has to be in that facility, regardless of how good it might be, and that she is deteriorating. The difference now is that I can finally breathe again. I can control the guilt and the shame in order to do right by her. Because, again, I imagine how I would feel in her situation and I do not think I would be as joyful as Tata is today. I would not be able to handle this situation with as much grace and strength as she does today. Sure, she has her days filled with upset, but overall, her living to 93 years old has returned her to being a pure soul. How can I leave her feeling alone? How can I not go there to bring her the music she enjoys and the videos that make her happy? It may not be every day. It may not be consistent. But I will fight for her and I will fight for me, like I’ve never done before. Shame or not, tears or not, I will continue to show up, in all of my glory. Whatever my “glory” might look like on that particular day.

3 thoughts on “All of Your Glory

  1. This is a really touching post. I feel as guilty as you do, not seeing my aging mama as often as I would like. She’s 70 and unfortunately, she is in a wheelchair due to a stroke 5 years ago. I would love to see her everyday but she lives 5 hours away from me. But when I do see her, I make sure she feels loved. I really need to see her more often though.

    Like

    • Hi Frances! Thank you for sharing. I think the key for us is to not put the stress on ourselves because it ultimately brings on guilt and shame. It is difficult balancing it all. In a perfect world, you’d see your mama every day. In a perfect world, she’d be healthy. I think, we just need to forgive ourselves and just keep striving to be our best. No guilt. No judgement. You love her and she loves you. We can only go from there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are right, we can’t just stay in that place of guilt and shame. Life keeps on, the world does not stop spinning and there are new things that we have to deal with everyday. Life is stressful enough as it is. I need to take your advice and do my best for my aging parents. I’ll figure it out. Nice to know about your inspiring story 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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