Oct 25 2012

I feel like Forrest Gump

I feel like Forrest Gump.

Do you remember that movie?  It’s my all time favourite. I could watch it a million times. My favourite scene is when Forrest sits on the big old porch and stares out.  Who knows what he’s thinking about, maybe everything that has happened. Maybe he’s not thinking about anything. I sense he is in a gap in his life, the place between here and there; at least that’s how I interpret it.

So he just gets up and starts running. He runs clear across Alabama and then continues on. He runs for over three years.  He just keeps going.  It’s for no particular reason. He just does it.

I feel like Forrest Gump, only I’ve been blogging not jogging.

Everything in life has a purpose.  I’m not saying I do everything in my life on purpose.  I just think that everything that happens, every experience, word, thought, action has a purpose.  It may take ten years from now to understand or see the purpose of it but it will have one. It always does.  This blog has been important.  It has a purpose.

Do you remember when Forrest stops running? He just stops.  He knows when he is done and that’s it. He stops; probably for no particular reason.

I felt like that the last couple of weeks; like I wanted to stop blogging. I thought about just stopping.  So I did.

There were too many things happening, surface things that take you away and give you a reprieve from the harder things.

My daughter in the far north was sick for the third time since she left home.  I worried.  It drove me loopy to not have her near so that I might check her fever and insist on her drinking her fluids.  We talked constantly over the phone. I insisted on every home remedy I could think of.  I waited for her to get well.  That was all I could do.

Sigh! It’s so hard to have no control.

I couldn’t blog.

In the meantime:

My son came home for a visit.  I’ve only seen him twice since last Christmas.  His work schedule doesn’t allow for much time off.  It’s retail.

The visit was wonderful and much-needed.  He brought a friend home and announced he may be bringing another one home to spend the holidays.  The more the merrier, I say.  All of my focus was on him and our visit.

I didn’t have even the slightest interest in blogging.

During the same week, my husband and I celebrated our 24th anniversary. It was simple and quiet. We took the dog for a walk in the evening as we always do. I like that we still hold hands. I like that it was the same as any other day. No bells or whistles or grand gestures. It was just us as us.

We passed a skunk….quickly.  A few minutes later, my husband teased me that the skunk was following us. I didn’t know he was teasing seeing as he nudged my shoulder in alarm and urged me to walk faster.  I took off running. When I turned around breathless, he was casually walking along, laughing and pointing at me.  We’ve been laughing about it all week.

I knew if I started blogging, I would be compelled to write about the harder things. I chose to stay on the lighter and softer side; At least for a few more days.

But the harder things found their way in.  They are not going away despite the distractions.

Some care issues came up in regards to my Mom and sister.  Again, I worry.  I fret. I wonder about what is the right thing to do.  I lay awake at night tossing around ideas and scenarios.  If I suggest this, what would happen?  If I don’t do or suggest that, what will happen?  What is the right thing? What is the logical thing? I take my emotions out of it and get a clear answer.  Then my emotions creep in and I am torn all over again.  I sway back and forth from day to day.  I sway under the distractions.

Finally a call comes that help is needed.  I am asked to come over to talk. So I do; for well over an hour.

I ask them what they would like to do and on that day, it’s clear. We talk for over an hour about what they need.  I make gentle, careful suggestions.  I am honest with them. I want them to be happy and to feel safe and be safe.  They are happy now and say they feel safe and certain.  I am relieved. They thank me for talking. They say they love me and feel much better about things.

I am elated.  I practically fly back to my home and I share the news.  There are sighs of relief; finally, a step in a good direction. The air feels cleaner, my step is bouncier. I stand in the mirror and the lines on my forehead soften.  I sleep well, better than I have in months.

The next day, the phone call comes.  There is uncertainty now. They are upset. They have changed their mind. I say “mind” in  the singular, because they are of one mind.  I don’t know how it changed so quickly.  They don’t trust.  They are frightened again. They don’t feel safe.

The lines return to my forehead.

No one knows how to move forward even though the road is wide open ahead. We linger on the side of the road. We loiter in front of the building. Waiting… for someone to open the door for us.

I don’t see any one standing on the other side to unlock it.  I don’t want to have to be the one to open it.


I know exactly what I want to write about.

I want to write about the confusion of it, the difficulty of it and the emotional charge of it. I want to ask what other people have done. How did their family cope with it and find a sense of peace and unity in it. I want to know.

This stuff is real. Caring for aging or unwell family members is real.  I wonder if it’s ok to talk about here.  I wonder if it would be useful. I wonder if it would resonate with people.  I wonder if talking about the experience honestly, from the perspective of someone in the care giving and worrying role is being disrespectful of the ones you are caring for.  I want to know.

Because some of this stuff is terribly sad and some of it is downright hilarious and you have to laugh or you’ll go off the deep end.

Or do we all just have to keep our mouths shut, to make everyone more comfortable.

I wonder about these things as I grocery shop.  I am standing in line at the checkout and I hear a man in the next checkout talking loudly and expressively about his frustration caring for his aging father. His father has dementia.

I inch in closer and turn my head to expose my good ear, the one that doesn’t hiss.  I listen to him as he pours his heart out to the clerk as he sorts his cold and heavy goods from his soft bread and dinner rolls. She nods in understanding.

I do not think he is strange or disrespectful for being so open. I see a man, with the same lines on his forehead.

As he finishes his story, I have to hold back from shouting out “amen to that brotha!”

Instead I return home and put away my groceries.

Then I close my laptop. I can’t blog yet.

Instead I lay out a fresh sheet of white watercolour board, an array of paint and some new brushes.  Then I paint the most beautiful winter scene.  The story unfolds as the washes are applied.  It’s late November, there are still a few burning bushes that are full of deep crimson leaves. I imagine it’s been an unseasonably warm Autumn.  A cold front has moved in and has blown in the first snow clouds. The flurries are wild and blow across the street, fuzzing out the boundaries between the grass and the pavement. Someone just turned a light on in the old house across the street.  Then another light is turned on at the neighbour’s house.  I wonder what will happen next with each layer of colour I apply.

I can’t do anything but wait…patiently, for the story to unfold.


So for now, for today, I blog on!

Life is crazy.

Life is….well, you know…you never know what you’re going to get.

If you like it, click here!

1 comment

  1. Tim Stewart

    Life is definitely like the box of chocolates that Forrest told us about. What he didn’t say is that no matter how hard you try to avoid them, you are going to eventually have to deal with the nutty ones.

Leave a Reply