Night after night Miss Cathy says, “I think I’m ready to go under”. No, she’s not channeling Dr Kevorkian; she’s just letting me know that she’s ready for me to turn off her TV and bedside lamp so that she can go to sleep. She’s not ready for the “Big sleep”- just a deep one. But, when I hear it I know that it’s a sign for me that the day is done and I’m pretty much free to be.
Recently I’d been spending my days stressing about telling her about my upcoming trip. It’s that time again, my “quarterly time-off”!(sounds like I’m working for an insurance company). My plans have been set for weeks now but I was waiting till about two weeks before (the trip) to tell her because I’ve been dreading a repeat of what happened last October when I told her I was leaving for a week (my first “time off” after being here for three months). She had no problem with me taking a trip (in fact she was happy for me) the problem started when she realized that my leaving didn’t mean that she’d get to stay alone in her apartment, it meant she’d have to go over to my brothers’ while I was gone (in her mind a fate tad amount to internment). Which also meant almost daily conversations, arguments and campaigns on her part to stay home alone. Oy Vey! It was exhausting and by the time I dropped her ass off at my brother’s “you best believe” I was in need of a holiday.
I’d remembered something that a psychiatrist told me years ago about sharing difficult news, she suggested letting the news come out of a normal activity and not to call any more attention to the news than was necessary by doing something out of the ordinary like 1) sharing it on a major holiday b) calling everyone to a specific room to share the news or 3) taking the person someplace unfamiliar to talk to them, lest you set up a future trauma that would include not just the news BUT the person, place or thing surrounding what you have to say.
So, with that in mind I set about waiting for an opportunity to tell her about the trip. The moment presented itself the other day while we were playing 3-13, the card game. She had asked if I wanted to play and at first I thought “Uggh, I am not in the mood”, then I realized that it would be the “normal activity” I was waiting for so I said “I’m in!”
It was after I’d won the game and we were still sitting at the dining room table, straightening up when I simply said,” I’ve got some news. I’ve got a trip planned and I’ll be gone Feb one through the ninth.” I know it sounds kinda dry, but I didn’t want to make a “bigger” deal out of the trip (nor did I want it to spark a major blow up either) so I opted for a “Readers Digest” version of events. After delivering my news I braced for whatever she was going to say but other than asking me to repeat the dates a couple times she didn’t say much else. I suggested that if she didn’t want to stay with Tony that maybe she could ask her girlfriend, Adele, about staying with her. That kind of just lay there so I burbled on about “too bad the weather wasn’t nicer or you could take some time and go home to North Carolina for a visit.” After chatting a few more moments we were up from the table and onto our separate activities for the rest of the day.
I gotta say, I was a little surprised by her response; maybe I’d built it up too much in my head (and believe me the quiet way she received the news was far preferable to what I’d imagined). Not sure what was coming (if anything) I kinda walked around the rest of the day “waiting” and “it” never came.
Well, it’s been three days since I gave her the news and not a peep out of her about it. Maybe I misjudged what her reaction was going to be (Nah!), maybe she didn’t hear me or maybe she’s just resigned to the way things are-the “new normal”. What I really think is that she’s just waiting for her moment (same as me) and she’ll “pop” out with something that I didn’t expect so I’ll deal with it then.
No matter, she’s given me plenty to think about at night right before “I go under”.