1/6/2018

Dear Stuart,

I don't think I want to call today a "good day", but it wasn't bad. It was just tough. I guess all days are in some way, but today it showed more on the sleeves of everyone around me.

One thing I noticed today is how we are really looking to blame someone or something else for our dissatisfaction. My mother spent the morning talking about how hard it's been for her; she's been doing this for a year now. No one helps her. She said to me, "I guess I'm not ok."  I tried to grab on to that sentiment and talk, perhaps too eagerly, since I've been waiting for her to notice this for so long now. She immediately responded, "Em, I don't want to have a therapy session right now. These are the only few hours I get today, I want to enjoy them with you."

This is not unusual. In fact, I think she's been saying that exact sentence to me for years. Constantly dropping hints that she is really struggling, just keeping her head above water and getting tired (understandably!). And then, she doesn't allow the conversation to go anywhere else. "I'm fine!" is her way of stopping it in it's tracks. And so, now we're supposed to "enjoy each other"? Now that you've told me you're not ok? I'm not blaming her, by the way.

Later, my grandfather rattled on about the quality of care he's getting from the home aids. "They do nothing around here," he grumbles. "What am I paying them for?" This isn't the first time I've heard some version of this. You've heard it, too, I know. I tried to remind him that everyone is trying their best, and that it is hard. "I know," he responded, almost shamefully, "I just need something to blame for all this."

It's so frustrating, that realization that we are not in control. And it's so much more frustrating for my grandpa, now that it's so glaringly obvious. He's not in control of anything anymore, except maybe his thoughts. He can't eat, go to the bathroom, or even sleep without some kind of aid. 

This is a good thing to remember while I attempt to negotiate my family dynamic. I think the most frustrating part is that none of the tension I feel is really anyone's fault. But that's so frustrating! Why can't I just swoop in and fix everything to be the way I want and then blame everyone else when they don't follow along? I need to practice letting go, and remember I'm not at the wheel. Which brings me to this; who is?

Just another giant, unknown territory I've procrastinated treading on for quite some time. I believe deeply in something, and trust in my fate and the fate of this world, but I'm not sure how to deepen this belief, how to practice, where to find my community.  As Matthew 18:20 states, "Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in their midst." I want that.

I love you so much.

Emily