Aug 20, 2014 – First day of School….back to the grind

Summer is officially coming to a close for us here in San Diego with the start of school.  It is a little bittersweet for me today.  This is the first year that Sam and I were able to take a break from caring for Tom and take a vacation of our own…a real vacation.   We slipped out for a trip to Paris.  It was a great trip…so much fun to not have a schedule for an entire week….just doing whatever we felt like doing.  Her first trip abroad, and I hope one of many. We enjoyed afternoon crepes and coffee, hot chocolate and evening walks.   As I walked her to school today, I couldn’t help but feel sad that the summer is coming to a close and we will all be back to the chaos of homework, cheer practice, taking care of Tom and back to scheduled doctor’s appointments and the like.  I intentionally took as much time off this summer as I could afford.  I wanted to feel less stress, less anxiety, feel more rested throughout the summer.  I wanted to make sure I could spend as much time with Samantha as I can.  She is so fun to be around and has such nice friends.  We tried to do as much as possible with the little time we had.  She hss become such a nice young lady and has found her place to help with Tom and to help me.

Being out of the country made me a little anxious to be that far away from our home and from Tom and also made me very sad and happy.  How can you be both at the same time?  Sad to know that these trips that we all planned as a family we will never be able to do together and also, in the future, when Sam is off to college and her adult life, that Tom won’t be able to join me on those type of trips.  I find some comfort in knowing that he didn’t know we were gone or for how long.  However, that is sad to me.  That the brain injury is so severe that he doesn’t know where we are, or how long we are gone.   I really was so happy to be away for a week.  I felt so guilty but was so relieved to be gone and sleep and not worry about another person but Sam and I.   A bit of a double edge sword – We need the time away from the daily routine for our own health and well being, so we can be better and more prepared to take care of Tom when we return.  A refresh.  But, sad to know that he has no idea that we are gone.  However, I think he was happy to see us come home….how the brain works still amazes me and confuses me.

In the end, I know taking our time off is the right thing to do.  Anyone who is a full time caregiver will understand the need to be away and the conflict of being away.  Also, it isn’t easy to be gone for any length of time.  In order for us to go on our trip, I had multiple layers of people to care for Tom.  Being gone involves Caregivers, schedules, meal preparation, medication, housekeeper, emergency home repairs,  emergency plans, and etc. are all part of the planning process to be out of town.  It can’t be on a whim.  It has to be a plan, and the plan has to be solid.   Thank goodness for my friends, family and visiting angels.  We couldn’t have done it without them.  We missed Tom, thought of him often and cried a few tears for our situation.  But it was good for us both.

I must say, being a Caregiver can trigger such a wide range of  difficult emotions, including anger, fear, resentment, guilt, helplessness, and grief. It’s important to acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling, both good and bad, happy, sad.   Try not to beat yourself up over your doubts, fear, anxiety, impatientness and misgivings. These feelings don’t mean that you don’t love your family member—they simply mean you’re human.