There is a life I want to lead, a person I want to be, and there is reality. The two seem to be growing farther apart, which has my inner perfectionist freaking out and ripping things off the walls. So to speak.

New Year Resolve

Part of this blue weather can be explained on my recent dose of Phoenix sun. In Arizona, my calendar is full. I’m surrounded by friends who love me enough to shake me when I’m being ridiculous. And of course this time of year, the weather was glorious. Nelson pranced around the park as if to say, “DUDE! NO SNOW!”

He’s eloquent that way.

New Year Resolve

This holiday was miserable for my family. Truly, painfully miserable. My grandparents aren’t doing well and the stress of their on-going health issues made my parents sorrowful and despondent. Seeing my dad this sad shakes me. Knowing there isn’t a damn thing I can do fills me with useless, bitter rage. My mom’s sadness comes out as frustration. Pair all of this heavy emotion with a freak winter storm that kept my parents holed up in a cheap motel en route to Tucson, delaying their arrival by more than a day, and you can imagine how fun Santa’s arrival was.

New Year Resolve

The person I want to be would have wrapped my arms around my parents and told them how very sorry I am they are at this point in life. That watching their parents age and be sick must be so hard. That their sadness was my sadness and it was a pity our time together — one of two times a year we typically see each other — would not be ruined by the circumstances.

New Year Resolve

The person I am moped and played martyr. Once again, the only grandchild to show up for the holiday for either set of grandparents. Once again, the responsible one. Once again, the one who doesn’t run away from the sorrow of the situation, but doesn’t know how to deal with it anymore than anyone else. Because I’m not unbiased. I too am watching those I love slowly, painfully decline. I don’t know how to comfort my parents any more than I know how to help myself.

I do know the ways I have been trying to cope aren’t working. There is much to change in 2012.


13 Replies to “Change”

  1. Thank you for such an honest post. I can relate to so much of what you’ve written. I am also going through what I am thinking of as “transition Christmas.” My parents are aging, so the old traditions don’t work so well and we haven’t figured out new ones yet. Nothing feels quite right.
    I am also the “responsible” one. My goal for the new year is to find a way to be true to myself – caring, helpful and family-centric – without being resentful or angry at the same time.
    You’re being too hard on yourself about “ideal” vs. “reality.” You know where you want to be and you’ll get there, even if it takes longer than you think it should.
    Happy 2012 and thanks for a great blog!

  2. I’m sorry about your family’s holiday. Christmas has so much pressure and expectation that things seem extra-miserable if they aren’t just right. And, of course, New Year’s brings with it all that self-examination we all go through that can be downright depressing. At least it’s almost all over for 11 months…

  3. Our family is also in a sad state of transition and it is impossible to imagine what is on the other side. It is very normal to grieve the family that once was when everyone was younger and healthier! It is also important that you and your parents gave your grandparents the joy of seeing you, even though they are no longer able to provide you and the family that chose not to be there the joys of Christmas past. Being the positive, giving person you are, I know you’ll create new traditions and memories that will have meaning for those who join you. Leave the martyr behind though, she’d just be a drag. Many hugs to you (and a few tears, too).

  4. I’m so sorry you had such a rough holiday with your family. It is easy to fall into that martyr thinking (it is an oldest child thing?) but it is wonderful that you are able to spend the holidays with your grandparents when none of your other cousins can. I was too little to really understand what was happening as my maternal grandparents went through those final difficult stages of life, but I am really not looking forward to it with my dad’s parents. They are the rock of that family, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen to us when they pass away.

  5. I’m sorry that this has been a difficult time for you. I spent Advent feeling very nostalgic, missing my Grandparents and my Dad. For me, Advent is always more difficult than Lent…I struggle with doubts, regrets, asking why things didn’t turn out as I would have liked, wondering where to go next. This year,I have learned that embracing the incarnation means embracing life fully, taking delight in time spent with family & friends, and learning from my Dad, that no matter what difficulty the day brings, to find something to be grateful for. From what I know of you from reading your blog, I think you have the grace to walk through this difficult time. Blessings to you & your family.

  6. Kelli,
    You inspire me in ways I could never express in words, and I can relate to your emotions that you had this Christmas. Sometimes it is hard to find that comfortable balance of who we are and who we want to be, especially for those that love us that are around us. I know that with your strength, love, compassion and grace, that you will get through these hard times…you may come out a little bruised in the end, but there are so many friends, family, and loved ones surrounding you that we will be there to support you when times are hard.

    Sending sunshine and a big hug to you today. Happy New Year, Kelli.

  7. Sorry that the sadness wrapped your home coming for the season. This is the last time you’d expect to be less than joyful. But life goes on, no matter our feelings. I know you feel useless, but just being the loving and caring person you are I’m sure will help. You can’t spare your loved ones from pain, illness and bad times, but you can still be there for them, no matter how hard it would be. Maybe at the end you will be a little bruised, but even the scars make us who we are. Much love and respect.

  8. Life goes that way cara. You do better than most ’cause you know what you are feeling and you are confortable sharing it. And let yourself be [eacefully blue when you need to. Love you.

  9. ((((KELLI))))

    It is okay to feel let down. It is hard to be the responsible one. I hear you.

    I am sorry about the health problems in your family. I know how hard that is. I will say a prayer for your dad in particular as he copes with sad realities.

    ((((KELLI)))) Mainly I just wanted to give you hugs.

  10. Kelli, I am sorry for the stress and sadness. I can really relate to that myself, especially this holiday season. It’s been different for a few reasons, and has strained everyone. I am also watching all of my grandparents quickly deteriorate, both of my grandmas with dementia/Alzheimers and nobody able to live on their own anymore. I just wanted to let you know that I am glad you are recognizing that this is difficult for you too. I watch my parents struggle watching their parents, and I probably don’t understand their pain, but I have my own sadness and pain to live through. I try to focus on how happy I am to have had my grandparents in my life for so long. It’s something neither of my parents had. I also try to remember that even though my grandmas no longer remember the love and special memories we have shared, that they have taught me how to love, and I can continue to love and serve them. Hugs to you. Growing up is rough sometimes. I have no doubt 2012 will be amazing for you!!

  11. Kelli,

    As someone who has a couple of years on you and has seen all 4 grandparents pass away, as well as my wonderful Dad, I can tell you this: The best way to honor those you love is to keep them in your heart and live a life that makes you happy and would make them proud. And you’re certainly on your way to that.

    Chin up, do the best you can, let yourself cry and wallow once in a while and find the peace of having such wonderful people who touch/touched your life.

    Your friend in Richmond,

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