I write just about every day in my journal. I use the pages to rant and complain so that I don't do as much of it here in this public space. In my journal, I write about my fears, my worries, my hopes, and my dreams. Some days I just write about how tired I am (which admittedly is not the best blog-fodder, but that's not important right now).
2012 was a wonderful year for us, but also full of many challenges. Looking back at my Year in Review, I can see that I completely skipped over some events because I got busy, or I got tired, or maybe I guess I just didn't know how to write about them.
My mom, Luza is 98 and will be celebrating 99 years on this earth in another month. She still has much of her spunk and style, but the truth is that age and passing time are taking their toll.
She is forgetting. Not just little things like what she had for breakfast, but bigger things, like the name of a grandchild, or how many daughters she has, or what city she is in. And I hate it.
It doesn't happen often, but it's very disconcerting when it does. My mother is not supposed to get old. She's not supposed to get senile. Age is just relative, right?
This past year has been spent juggling her changing needs and my corresponding emotions. She has become more childlike. I play the role of the adult.
Of course, in the other roles I take on, I'm functioning as the adult most days. I just don't like that my relationship with my mother is flipping. That I have become the caretaker. I am the one who makes sure she has been properly fed and gets her nap. She gets mean and cranky some days. It's part of the process. And I don't like it.
I don't like what it portends. I don't like the fears it brings up. And I don't like how I'm reacting.
My mom is getting old. And so am I.
I'm afraid, and I am not handling this part of my life very well. So I haven't written about it until now.
The tears feel foreign. My relationship with my mom, while not perfect, has been, for the most part, fun. But that's changing. And I don't like it. And I don't know how to write about it. So I'm cobbling together this post with the fearful words. Her life is winding down. And I'm just plain afraid.
So I spent most of 2012 swimming around in these feelings and not sharing them. Because it didn't seem appropriate for this blog. But I am intending to keep it real in this new year. And while this is not pretty, it's very real.
One of the things that my mother taught me well was how to stuff my emotions. Of course, there were never formal "Stuffing Your Emotions" lessons, still I was groomed to not react negatively to anything. So these strong and painful emotions I'm experiencing right now are stuffed somewhere in my neck and shoulders. The pain I'm not feeling, my body is feeling for me in my joints and sleeplessness.
As I'm busy trying to stuff my pain, my body just aches and practically cripples me with the unspoken grief.
I intend to get better at this. I intend to speak out more. This is, after all, the Truth. And I'm a big believer in the Truth having the power to set me free.
So I write this in part as catharsis. In part as encouragement.
To all of you Daughters of Aging Cuban Mothers. I encourage you to embrace the difficult changes and know that Life Goes On. Let's be strong models of poise and grace and genuineness for our own daughters. They deserve better.