Things have been going well this week, and I felt great although still fragile. Had a good conversation with one of our authors, and went off to a caregivers’ lunch. We talked about secretly hoping our partners would get better, even after all these years. We traded experiences and thoughts, including, ironically, a discussion on triggers and how they are embedded so that your mind has little control over your reactions, until you really work on it, perhaps through tapping or some other therapy.
I was somewhat reluctant to leave that pleasant atmosphere and head off to see Don, and in fact took the long way round, in order to get my head into a better space. I thought i had succeeded, but now I wonder if I triggered him or it was vice versa. Actually there was really no reason for me to go at all. He had been visited every day lately but I was just feeling obligated.
When I got there, he was not welcoming, complaining, although about what I never could figure out. He was just kind of bitter, uneasy, angry, unhappy. “Can’t you see?” I couldn’t divert him for more than a few minutes, although one of the aides succeeded with a happy little dance and hug.
Eventually Don said angrily, the first clear words in an hour, “I’ve had enough of this. I want to go home.” It has been so long, many weeks, since he took up that refrain and I was a bit stunned. He continued, “Oh you can go on and do whatever you want. I… I will just smash it.”
I left quickly, not being able to stand those kinds of words, and came home in tears, thinking, no more reasonably than he, “You already have. You have smashed everything.”
Definitely “I want to go home,” coming from him, reminds me of all the years I listened to that refrain, and resisted moving into his home, the backwoods of rural Ontario. And that reminds me of all the rest of the trouble and trauma of our relationship, before and especially after he got sick, and before I understood the disease. Powerful and disturbing memories, emotional dependence, lurking, wanting to crowd out the present.
I don’t think I will visit him so often, maybe just two times a week. We’ll see.