Friday, January 15, 2010

I want to escape, go a little crazy.

Today we escape.
Originally uploaded by Manυ

This has been one of those weeks that make me feel like escaping from my life. I would love to just walk out the door of my house, my job, my life. Just walk, and keep walking. It can all be so much work, and frankly, not feel worth the effort.

Just to set the scene here properly, I am calm. I am not in tears. I am not numb. I think I am just feeling tired, and disappointed with life. Yesterday I ran into a peer while working. We were briefly talking about difficult situations within our families. She turned to me and said, "you have really been through the wringer."

I have been through the wringer. I often wonder what people think of when they see me coming. I mean people who know some of my story. There was a point in my life that everything came to me so easily. If I wanted to accomplish something I would just chart out a course, which would almost always lead me to where I wanted to go. Then something changed, and I don't know why.

When I decided to have a family I sought out adoption as my plan. I really loved being a parent, at least in the early days, before it all got so complicated. People have always said that my children's lives have been greatly benefitted by my willingness to persevere through all their difficulties. They come from a significant history of parental drug abuse and likely mental illness. So I shouldn't have been surprised, or disappointed with the challenges we would face as a family. But at this point it is really wearing me down. I'm beginning to feel like the victim in a very tragic tale.

Then Michael comes along, and my life begins to take a different turn. And even though the kids' needs continue to challenge me beyond my perceived limits, I am able to continue on because I am being fulfilled in other ways. There is balance for awhile. Then Michael dies, and I am left to manage all that I used to, and more.

Now, I don't mean to sound so depressing, it's not the tone I wish to convey. I just want an escape. I want to move into another dimension, or an altered state. I think I would like to go a little crazy. I would like to become one of those people who are somehow just not right. Maybe a little quirky. I would like to not always know that my life is not so good.

I suppose these are not nice things to say. I suppose these are not nice things to hear.

Maybe I should become reckless. I should throw all caution to the wind, and just look for trouble. Why not? Trouble seems to keep finding me anyway. And, if I go looking for trouble, at least it will be more of the fun type of trouble.

Do I make any sense? No? Great. Are you beginning to worry about me? Are you thinking, okay, now he's really lost it. I hope so. I think I'm ready for my midlife crisis. Am I old enough? Am I too old?

I wonder where I could find a sitter for my kids, so that I may begin my tragic demise. My kids might be a bit old for a sitter, but then again, they are far from mature enough to manage on their own. If I'm going to go crazy, then I should at least do it responsibly. Right?

I think I need a vice. I don't really have one. I don't think I have ever had one. Or maybe I do. Maybe I'm so crazy I don't even see the obvious.

I wish I smoked. I would be chain smoking right now. I would have a couple of ash trays around me, a lit cigarette in each.

I can tell this is going to be one of those late nighters. I'm not going to want to sleep, so I better find myself something to do, something to eat, something to drink, something to enjoy, something to...I don't know...something.

I want to be evil. I think I want to be Eartha Kitt!


  1. Ack, I just lost the comment that I wrote. Oh well! These are just some thoughts from someone who actually did decide to "escape and go a little crazy".
    Do try to make some serious "recovery time" for yourself. From the outside, looking at your situation, I see an incredibly responsible person who has been under stress for a very, very long time. Someone who is probably suffering from a major case of caregiver burn-out, topped with many months of grieving (hell, if it's like me, the "grieving in secret" started the day that Don was diagnosed). Someone who hasn't had the opportunity to crash and burn for a heck of a long time. As someone who has been there and lived to tell the tale, I think it wouldn't hurt to plan an escape. No, nothing as radical as what I've done, which is (admittedly) pretty radical. However, if you can swing it, even a week of being away in a place where you can get some quality downtime to rest and find yourself, might do you a lot of good and help you to sort out your feelings. Yes, get the sitter, but don't think "tragic demise". Consider it a time to regain your balance and restore the part of yourself that has been "through the wringer". You have a short trip planned soon, right? See how you feel while you're away. Try to sense if the time away out of your routine feels good and helps you to break out of a trajectory that is starting to feel kind of old. My guess is, there's probably some way to restore balance to your life, but it's pretty hard to see that when you're in the middle of it.

  2. i have no idea if you feel any connection to what i'm pasting in here but i immediately thought of it and looked it up. i didn't want to just link it. i wanted others to read it and make the leap to you. it was written by Erma Bombeck and though it is about mothers, insert fathers. it speaks about handicapped children but your children's lives and the difficulties it created for them would also insert here. i would have done it but i don't like to change the writing of others.

    had she met you, she would have changed her own words to allow for men such as you for you chose your children. you have the heart to do this all in spite of the hand life has dealt you. i believe that. i know you do, too. i hope you draw inspiration and strength from this missive.

    "Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

    This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

    Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

    "Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

    "Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia."

    "Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew."

    Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

    The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."

    "Exactly," smiles God, "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

    "But has she patience?" asks the angel.

    "I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."

    "I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has her own world. She has to make her live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

    "But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

    God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect - she has just enough selfishness."

    The angel gasps - "selfishness? is that a virtue?"

    God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'". She will never consider a "step" ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!"

    "I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice....and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side".

    "And what about her Patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

    God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

  3. Dan, forgive me, but this had me really laughing with you (not at you). What worries me is that I totally identify with what you are saying here. Eartha Kitt? More like "Kill Bill" ;-)

    I think you need a night out, a weekend away, a chance to be light, just as you said in your comment to me.


  4. Dan, to me, I don't want to diminish in any way what you have written bu I thought what you have written is great ... you sound so real, and dare I say it... Sane ! ( But a health warning here, as I say that as someone who has and often does identify with your sentiments :) )

    Like you I working within the caring professions. Sometimes get disenchated with a sense that I'm running myself ragged for people who just aren't willing to do anything to help themselves. What brings back the positive energy is that when I'm feeling beaten the Universe inveriably sends me a reminder of the difference I make when I bump into an ex client who has got their life back.

    I read a saying somewhere "any unrecognised blessing is a curse" . When I'm in one of my more positive frames of mind I become grateful for the skills I have, and then somehow life doesn't seem such hard work.

    But even with a postitive frame of mind, we cannot keep going flat out all the time. The last week I have been unwell, and i've just had to slow up..... I think this is probably a 50's thing ... I don't remember having to do this in my 20's .... somehow then it seemed easier to push through these things :)

    Finally, being single again, somehow it has become more important to have something lined up to look forward. Even if it's just a few hours 'time out" for a trip to the Theatre at the weekend, somehow it helps to smooth the rough edges off the week.

    I hope you find a fun way of expressing your individuality :)

    Best Wishes


  5. First off, Thanks to each of you for sharing your comments. I do need to break away from this soon. I do have a weekend away next weekend, but I will be taking the kids. I'm glad though that I won't be on my own for this one, as it is a celebration of Michael's life, with a gathering of his friends.

    Soon, though, I do need a real break. I have been caretaking far too long, and it won't be lightening up anytime soon.

    I love the Erma Bombeck writing. First, she is definitely a voice from my childhood. Secondly, it give me real perspective. Thanks.

    I do need to have some fun. It has been a long time

    As far as my individuality goes, I keep trying on new personas to see if something feels different enough to keep me going. Last week I didn't bother to shave. By the end of the week I decided I would grow a beard. My facial hair is completely white. Some of the women in the office thought it distinctive. I was at the court house, and an attorney I know came by and said "what the hell is on your face?" I started laughing. He then said, "your'e far too young for that look Dan." It made me think, just because I feel like an old widower, doesn't mean I have to look like one.