I’ve surfaced for a moment to take a breath and wanted to update everyone. I’m still plugging away on my internship, which is going very well. I’m almost halfway through, and have been getting some very positive feedback on my work, so fingers crossed there’s a job offer in the near future. As difficult and stressful as this internship has proven to be I am so grateful to have this opportunity to gain experience and get a taste of what is to come in my new career. Once things calm down, I’m definitely planning on returning to a more regular posting schedule on my blog. I have some things planned that I hope you all will enjoy. Well, better dive back into it. Hope you all are doing well, and I send you much love.
The first week of my internship and I don’t think I’ve been this mentally exhausted in years. Not that I’m complaining. I’m not. I’m also feeling a sense of fulfillment I haven’t experienced in a very long time. I feel like I’m working for my future, which I didn’t feel when I was caregiving. But underlying all these emotions is a deeper sense of needing to catch up to all the time I lost while taking care of my mom. I try not to focus on it. I try to appreciate all the time I got to spend with my mom, but it’s hard when I look at my dwindling bank account and realize all the time I lost working and all the money I missed out on making. That’s definitely the biggest downside of caregiving, the financial impact. When your caregivee isn’t here anymore, and you are left alone with thoughts of imminent financial ruin. But, that’s why I’ve worked so hard to get my transcription certificate, so I can start earning money. I just hope I’m not too late to pull myself from the brink of the abyss.
So, good news! I passed my exams with a high enough average score to qualify for an internship with a transcription company! Yeah!! I’ll find out more details tomorrow, and I’m pretty anxious about it. I’m not questioning my skills or abilities; I’m wondering whether or not my time as a caregiver will be an obstacle to me getting a job. I haven’t worked since the summer of 2005. I spent the last 13 years caring for my mother full time. Ideally, I’m hoping my work will speak enough about who I am that the work gap won’t be a factor for prospective employers. Realistically I know there are people out there who don’t see caregiving for an elderly parent or a family member as work. My own siblings slightly fall into that category, although now that our mother is gone, I feel like they are beginning to see what my reality was like. It was work. It was 16 hour days, 7 days a week, 365 days a year nonstop. I’m hoping those I encounter in my job search will be empathetic and realize that what I did was work. I have the skills to do this job well and be an asset to any company I end up working for. I just hope I get the opportunity to prove my worth and the 13-year work gap won’t be a hindrance. I hope potential employers will see that my caregiving shows that I am dedicated, that I am a hard worker, and I would be a valuable employee to add to their team. So onwards and upwards with fingers crossed.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – The experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown
Today’s post is a little bit of ranting and a little bit of praying. As I’ve mentioned recently, I’ve been working on my final exam for my transcription course. It’s going reasonably well, I have two transcriptions left to complete and have around a B+ average overall. What has been driving me crazy, however, is all the technical difficulties and hiccups I’ve been facing. In transcription work, you are supposed to use a foot pedal to play, rewind and fast forward audio files. The first one I bought, stopped working every five minutes and I would have to uninstall it, reinstall it, restart my computer, and several other steps. It didn’t take too long to do, but it just got old really fast. So, I thought, “I’ll just get a new one.” The second one I bought kept fast forwarding the audio every time I stopped the audio. Exasperated, I decided to forgo the foot pedal and just work the recording by hand. Problem solved. Not ideal for when I start working because working the audio playback manually slows down my time, but for now it works. I thought everything would be smooth sailing. But the technical gods had been offended by something I had done because now I’ve been having keyboard troubles. The one I’m using now is solar powered. The area where my desk is in a dark corner, so I have a tippy little light that shines down on the keyboard to keep it powered. The lamp is so tippy; I have a book resting on it as a counterbalance. I ordered a wireless keyboard to replace the solar one. When I started to use it the spacebar didn’t work half the time. So, I ordered another keyboard. I got it yesterday, and it won’t work at all. Needless to say, the frustration level in my house is at an all-time high right now. I find myself bouncing between laughing at the ridiculous of it all and crying due to the pressure I’m putting myself under to finish these exams so I can start working and earning money. I wonder what I have done to piss the technical gods of to such a degree. I also wonder what I can do to appease them again. Maybe sacrifice one of the keyboards under the light of the next full moon? I don’t know. What I do know is that I need my technical luck to change and fast. So, if you guys could send some positive vibes my way, it would be immensely appreciated.
I’ve just woken up
First thoughts drifting
Through my mind.
And my heart is racing.
Each throb and beat
Feels like it wants to
Push through my chest.
I wake up like this
I go to bed like this.
Anxiety and nervous
Fretting over a future
Yet to be written
But feels like
It’s already set in
Walls or bridges, we must decide.
One connects the other divides.
Too many today follow the path
Quick to find fault and explode with wrath
Walls are being built at a frightening pace
Many forget we are all one race
Traveling on this blue orb through the galaxy
We have more, not less, to gain through unity.
My last post was pretty intense, and I think it might have given the wrong impression. Overall, I had a great birthday on Sunday. I did eat birthday cake, which was delicious. And I opened two cookbooks from my sister which I’ve had fun looking through and planning future meals with. It was just that moment of time when I looked at my cake where I was just inundated with memories of birthdays of old. From childhood to adulthood, 46 birthdays that I had with my mom. The one that really stood out in my mind was 1999. She had had a very close call with blood poisoning the summer of 1998 and was still recovering by the time January rolled around. When I came downstairs that morning, there sitting on the kitchen counter was an orange with a burning candle sticking out of it. She knew she wasn’t able to bake a cake, so she improvised. She thought it was a silly gesture, but it meant more to me than she ever knew. I knew this birthday would be a difficult day, but I thought it wouldn’t be harder than my mom’s birthday or Christmas had been. It was just looking at that cake that caused a very large burble of primal grief to come rushing to the surface of my consciousness. The intensity of the feelings and emotions were just so overwhelming and caught me off guard completely. At that moment, I missed her so terribly and felt the rawness of that loss. That rawness stuck with me into the next day when it expressed itself in that poem. I posted it because I’ve come to see my blog as a safe space to express what I’m going through; the good and the bad. To be honest, it’s the first time I’ve felt so safe to say what is on my mind so freely. So, in a roundabout way, this post is a thank you to all of you who have accepted me into your worlds and lives. Like that birthday orange, you will never know the full extent of what that has meant to me.
Sorry I’ve been quiet for a few days now. I was doing fine. Getting the house ready for Christmas and thinking I was dealing with my grief pretty well. And then wham! I got caught in a massive riptide of grief that dragged me off my feet, and I’ve been trying to find my footing again ever since. I had heard that the first Christmas after a significant loss is hard. Hard is the most useless word to describe it. For me, it has been utterly debilitating to the point that I can’t do anything much except cry. The pain I’ve felt the past two days has been spiritually excruciating. I miss my mom more now than at any other time during this grief “process.” Yesterday I thought I’d try to make myself feel better by putting the lights on my little tree. After finishing, I was looking at it thinking how cold and harsh the lights looked this year. There was no soft twinkling glow at all. There was no anticipation of the upcoming holiday that I had been looking for. I felt even more miserable and also thought about taking the lights down again and putting the tree away. I’ve contemplated not having Christmas at all this year because the pain is just so intense. I’m not seeing the world as it is right now and I know it. I’ve heard of rose-colored glasses; I wonder what color grief colored glasses are. I’m thinking a swampy greenish-brown color. I feel like I’m just treading water until the day that I’m dreading arrives and departs as it does every year, just surviving instead of living. I don’t know how to change my mentality but I know I want to. I hate feeling this way. My mom wouldn’t want me to feel this way. But if I try to swim against the grief, I know it will just drag me out of my life even further, and I’ll drown. So I’ll just keep treading and try to move forward towards Christmas and hope I find a way to get through it without her.
Yesterday, my niece and nephew came for a visit. I had them help with a few things while they were here including taking my mom’s bed apart. Seeing the pieces of the bed my mom has slept in for over 40 years was very emotional but having to walk by it every day had gotten to be much too painful and I knew it was time to remove it. Hours after they had left when I was getting ready to go upstairs for the night, I went into my mom’s room and looked at the dark empty space where her bed had been and asked if she was okay with my removing her bed. I wasn’t expecting an answer, how could she answer me? Taking one last look, I went into the front hall and turned on the lights, one in the downstairs and one in the upstairs. Climbing the stairs, the light behind me blinked on and off one time. “Once for yes, twice for no.” flashed through my mind and I stopped mid-step dumbfounded. Could it have been her? I don’t know. There was no accompanying cold or air or feeling like she was there, but I’d like to think it was a sign from her — a sign that she’s okay with me moving on and changing the house to suit my new needs. It’s also comforting to know that her spirit is still around watching over me.