When you can’t make it shine

What I didn’t address in Tall Trees – part deux is what happens when you can’t make the light shine for the ones you love.  I am in that unenviable position right now.  I don’t know what to do.

HardWorker’s mother lives in England.  They speak often but haven’t seen each other for about 18 years.  Neither of them flies, both have anxieties, even demons, I guess.  I have never met my MIL but we have built a relationship of sorts over the years.  I call her on much of what she says and I think it has helped to keep her grounded now and then.  Hardworker loves her mother.  It hurts her to know that her mother is often alone, possibly ill, definitely troubled.  This morning Hardworker got a call from England telling her that my MIL was in hospital.  She had apparently fallen, it wasn’t clear if she had had a stroke or what might have caused the fall; it wasn’t known when she had fallen.  Hardworker was a mess but stayed at work because 1) that’s what she does well and b) it would keep her busy while she could try not to think about the fact that she can’t do anything from here right now.

It fell to me to call my SIL and let her know what little I knew.  SIL made other calls and inquiries and sent family and friends to the hospital for her mother.  What we now know is still very little, but it might be more than we want to.  MIL fell and fractured her skull; she has a brain bleed; she is somewhat responsive but doesn’t know her best friend; she has a DNR order.

When Hardworker got home from work I had to give her all this news.  (I can’t stand being the bearer of bad news.  I have twice had to advise family members of deaths in our family and that’s more than enough for me I don’t ever want to do it again.)  She wants to go to her mother.  She feels guilty for not calling her mother last night.  She feels guilty for the fact that her mother was alone.  She feels guilty that she has occasionally had to “push” her mother off of the phone.  She feels lost, sad, devastated and oh yeah, guilty.  Did I mention guilty?

She should go to her mother.  She hasn’t got a valid passport.  She is anxious about terrified of flying.  She fears the worst, that she won’t be able to go or won’t get there in time.  She is scared.

I don’t know what to do.  I mean, I know what to do; I’m hand-holding, I’m hugging, I’m filling out forms, I’m making calls, I’m telling her that worrying isn’t helpful, I’m telling her guilt is pointless.  I don’t think I can can’t make the light shine through this forest.  I can’t get her to see the light, to feel the light because right now I’m having trouble with it myself.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know what to do.

Categories: family | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “When you can’t make it shine

  1. Running from Hell with El

    I am so sorry sweetheart. Are you breathing? Seriously–are you? As far as knowing what to do . . . from where I sit, as it were, it seems to me you are doing all (and more) than you can do. Sometimes we just have to realize that even our best (our very, very best) is not going to make a sad situation that much better, you know? This is one of those messy times we need to get through, one tired foot in front of the other. You’re doing your best, and I am proud of you. Big hugs.

  2. That is the heaviness of life. Choices and their consequences can eat at our souls. All we can do is live in the moment and do what feels right, right now. You two are smart, caring and filled with love. That will be enough to get through this. Faith!

    • Thanks so much. We got HardWorker on the plane, which is a HUGE thing, and she has been there for a week. Her mother was doing okay, then took a turn for the worse yesterday leaving HW in a quandary again. She wasn’t sure whether to come home or stay longer. She is coming home as waiting is waiting and it’s easier to do with BG and myself and our friends than with just Auntie over there.

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