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The Homecoming and Other Things

August 1, 2013
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After five long years without seeing my 27-year-old daughter, she is finally home today on a Red Cross mercy mission. This girl is my tumbling tumbleweed, my will-o’-the-wisp, the one with a sense of adventure who left home for good a month after high school graduation, and has been back only three times since. She joined the Army and did a tour of duty in Iraq; now she’s a civilian contractor providing air traffic control services on a military base somewhere in the middle of BFE (otherwise known as Afghanistan).

I can’t believe how much I’ve missed her while she’s been living her life so far from home. I also can’t wait till all four kids are here so I can take pictures of them, all grown up, for I fear this will be the last time they get together until Will and I are both gone. I don’t even want to walk down that path, however, for the dark thoughts are never far away and I cannot give into them, no matter what happens tomorrow……or five years from tomorrow.

In other news, I’m having a degree of difficulty keeping up with my mood charting. Not just because of everything that’s going on, but because I really don’t KNOW what my moods are doing. I feel depressed, but with my considerable agitation and inability to focus on much of anything—I’m even written this post in fits and starts—my chart shows I’m hypomanic. What I think is that extraordinary circumstances make for inaccurate results, and that I probably ought to give up mood charting for the time being. It’s just too much effort to try to figure it out, and frankly it’s not a priority right now. Bleah.

I’m also trying to figure out what to do about work. Last week I called in for all three of my shifts while Will was in the hospital, which wasn’t exactly smiled upon even though they’re very understanding. This weekend I’m taking Friday off because I’m so afraid I’ll be a wreck, and thus unsafe to take care of folks; at least Saturday and Sunday all I’ll have to do is admissions and paperwork. I feel awful about taking yet another day off, but with my daughter here and what could be a bad verdict tomorrow, I am all over the map emotionally……believe me, they wouldn’t WANT me in charge of thirty-eight residents under these circumstances.

I think back to a nurse who worked there a few years ago when I did; we had been classmates, although she was much older than I, and she somehow powered her way through her husband’s terminal illness while working full-time. She quit after he passed away; but now I wish I could get hold of her because I want to know how she did it. Granted, she wasn’t battling bipolar disorder when she was going through it all, but still……..what kind of guts must it take to work for a living when you’re distracted by an impending loss? How do you focus on the job when all you want is to be with your loved one?

But like her, I’m going to have to find out, because I don’t have a choice. Somehow, some way, I’ve got to put on my big-girl chonis and deal with it; after all, my personal tragedy has nothing to do with the fact that frail elderly folks need care, and I’m one of the people who are paid to provide it.

You know what I wish? I wish the courage those elders showed in getting through the Depression and World War II could be bottled and sold in stores like soda pop, for my generation and those coming after it certainly could use a dose of it. Bottoms up!

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