I feel as if my personal cup of trouble is filled to the brim. One more drop and it will begin spilling over.
First Brownie with diabetic ketoacidosis and an emergency pet hospital stay last month. Now, Fluffy hit with one of his more virulent pancreatitis episodes, still ongoing nearly a week later. A dozen trips to the vet, always with a scramble to arrange elder care for the third needy individual in our home.
Reaction leans toward self-pity, along with the equal and opposite reaction to hide that I’m feeling it. Who was it that decided I would be a willing caregiver for chronically ill felines? Add the cognitively impaired, physically frail (and much beloved) elderly mother to the mix of neediness, and we have a perfect recipe for chronic overwhelm.
If I weren’t already inclined to have hip replacement surgery so I can experience relief from that longstanding pain, Universe is practically forcing me into it by assigning increasingly demanding caregiving tasks. There’s a subtle message, bordering on a threat: If you don’t become more functional pretty soon, there will be nobody to take care of any of you. A couple of old friends have actually said that, echoing Universe’s message like a syncopated Greek chorus.
The volume of anxiety and physical discomfort from these last few months is almost enough to squeeze out peace, joy, gratitude, and faith. There seems to be only so much room within my realm of self, and the “positive” aspects are cowering meekly a tiny corner.
Where is the lesson in these experiences? What epiphany should I be checking off on that list of the taskmaster soul? I think the soul forgot that the human requires extended moments in peaceful environments, places conducive to hearing God/Soul/Universal Oneness offer wisdom.
Even though every minute is not filled with anxiety and scrambling to assist needy family members, when I am able to rest, all I want is distraction. Favorite novels become my savior; reading for pleasure is a lifelong sacred trust rather than a time-waster. Adding another should to the to-do list—you should meditate, do some tai chi and recite a few mantras—completely loses its appeal.
These boringly ordinary agonies are hardly unique to me. Stepping back for the space of a breath, I can imagine them being repeated, household by household and person by person, throughout the world. Is this what many channels and commentators mean when they somberly prognosticate, “It will get much worse before it gets better”? Not so much that the world situation will become seemingly unrecoverable, but alongside the greater world, in each of our lives, we shall touch toes to the edge of our limits, teetering over the brink?
Underlying everything is a niggle of grief. Does this fun-loving, goofy, lively and mischievous cat want to be done, here? Is he finished with his intermittently very ill 14-year-old body; does he want move on to brighter realms?
I manage to take one long breath and consciously suspend worrying. The human elder still sleeps, blissfully ignorant that anything is amiss. Fluffy has retreated beneath a chair, the forays to the food dish in an attempt to force down a few nibbles done for now. Brownie purrs volubly, stretched along my legs.
I might go outside where the beautiful sun shines, and do a few tai chi moves. But right now, I reach for Elizabeth Peters and offer my numb brain the improbable escapades of the heroine. It doesn’t matter that I’ve already read the book. Reconnecting with the travails of the irreverent Vicky Bliss offers respite, and the reminder that, like closing the book when the story is over, this, too, shall pass.