I have worked hard to be more in touch with my body. The good news there is that like some of these other endeavors, it becomes more natural. Once you make the initial effort, staying connected becomes fairly natural.
Don't be too impressed; I am sure that with a little effort in the opposite direction I could undo it. I was nonetheless pleased to see that it hasn't been something that required constant vigilance and repeated backsliding. It's nice that some things have been easier.
What has been harder lately is staying in touch with my mind. I guess there had to be something.
One of the frustrating things about listening to my body is how often the message was pain. Hey, this finger has a twinge. Oh, it's a bad twinge? Did I break it? Or is that just a sign of pending full-blown arthritis as I age? What do I do now? Doctor, heat, ice, or ibuprofen? It is better to be aware of it and especially to do something now rather than three weeks from now. It is also an inconvenience, but it's one that you accept is better than letting a little problem get neglected into a big one.
(And yes, it has not yet been a full year since I left a piece of glass in my foot for three weeks and let myself in for a big and expensive infection. I guess it ended up being a lesson.)
I also know pretty well how the emotional wound you try to ignore only digs deeper and does worse things to your life. Therefore I have no excuse for trying to put this one off; I keep hinting at it. I just need to face it.
I am stressed about this trip. I am already stressed about running out of money and my mother's health prospects, but the upcoming trip makes it worse. I have been so exhausted with no identifiable cause, except that I am about to leave on a trip and I have grave concerns.
I think I am going to save my specific travel concerns for a different post, because at least with those there is a framework with a lot of known factors. There are dates and times and no matter what I worry about that might go wrong, we will probably arrive home at the currently scheduled time without being too much the worse for wear.
There are also things where I know there is no point in trying to deal with them until after I get back. I will be unavailable for a little over a week; how much sense does it make to send out certain inquiries and start various processes now?
So that leaves the big issue of my mother's health, where I know there is pain coming, but not the details on when and how it will come.
Mom could go on for years like this, which is not horrible but is a source of worry, and puts some limitations on what I can do. She could become much more absent, but still be here. That would hurt a lot, and again, it is not easy to predict the time.
One reason I like the pictures I took - with her exasperated faces - is that she looks like she is there. A lot of photos have her unfocused, where she doesn't really seem present. She is not usually like that now, but it was something that I saw with my aunt on our last visit; as she kept mentally slipping away. It will be hard to deal with that.
Mom could also die. No, there is nothing that makes it seem likely that it would happen soon (one bit of superstition based on her siblings, but it is just superstition), but that's something I think about too. And that will really hurt. It would also solve some issues, but there would be so much guilt in any feelings of relief that it would not be much relief.
So there is always something there, but I don't know what it will ultimately be. It could end up being all of the above over a protracted time period. I believe this is why I sometimes get teary for no apparent reason, or sometimes there is a sigh that is kind of gasping - there is always this shadowy form around the corner of something that is going to hurt.
When I am giving advice to my siblings, I remind them to dwell in the moment. If she is happy now, enjoy it. This isn't the time for corrections. For the love of all that is good and pure why would you bring this topic up now in this relatively serene moment?
That may make me kind of a hypocrite. I am good at staying in the moment with her, but for myself my mind looks ahead and it has a hard time.
Where it becomes so hard is that I can't resolve it. I think things out and write them out so that I can know how I feel and what I need to do. Okay, I know how I feel. I know what I need to do today. That future, though... I can't get any answers there.
Perhaps then the most important thing about all of this was to get better enough to be able to take it. Figure out what was false and what was true, find the strength that I need, and be able to get through this, whatever this ends up being.