Tuesday, October 17, 2017

When the world can't shrink down

When I get stressed or when there's a lot of things going on, I tend to compartmentalize. One of the ways I cope with stress in general is to shrink my horizons. Eyes In The Boat, like the old saying goes. I tend to try to work on things piecemeal, manage events and issues as they come, rather than doing so holistically. It works for me.

    Sometimes, when things happen that are not in our control, but which we are unable to cope with easily, it makes it harder to put ideas and issues, and feelings, too, in neat little boxes.

 My mom is getting ready to pass on. She's at the point where she'll soon be making the decision to stop fighting a progressive series of illnesses and age-related end-of-life challenges that are starting to add up faster than her ability to deal with them and enjoy a minimal quality of life. That time we all know can come for us who live long enough.

... and it's something that most every child of an older parent has to deal with. So many people have, and that includes me. I remember very clearly the day when my father decided that he had gone as far as he could with medicine, that it was time to go home and enjoy the time he had left.

 So why the hell am I sharing this? It's pretty private, even though I know some of my family reads this stuff. I guess I'm still wrapping my head around all of it. I'm saddened but not traumatized by it. Anyone can understand the desire to have time to surround themselves with loved ones and have a quiet, dignified death free of the indignities that sometimes come with life-extending medication that requires sacrificing one's awareness or ability to enjoy the last days.

 With all this, we don't know exactly what will happen and when, and that is where my being at work on the water, and my living 1,500miles from my mom gets second-guessed. I could have worked for the fucking aquarium or run a ferry boat or something. I pray I'll have time to be there, and that I'll be able to ferry my family north to do the same.

 At any rate, I'm not writing to collect sympathy, just to clear my own thoughts. Without being able to keep my mind in the boat and my eyes in the boat, it's not as easy to juggle the million little things we all juggle. I rely on my time at work to center me, I guess, and it's not working.


Judy said...

Hugs. It's tough losing a parent. Being 1500 miles away is even tougher. One other thing, be extra vigilant about safety cause your mind is preoccupied.

Bob said...

My sympathies. I lost my own mom 5 years ago and it still seems like yesterday.

Jill said...

I know what you're going through. I was on the ship in CA when they called from FL to tell me my mother was not expected to make it through the night. Totally unexpected! I had called and talked to her just a few weeks ago, before I shipped out. Luckily we were in port and the company shuffled me right off the ship and flew me right over to Tampa. I was in the hospital room with my mom before morning. I was able to stick around and deal with all the trauma until everything was taken care of (she died). My company was very understanding and gave me the time I needed with no questions asked.

They did the same when my father found out he had cancer and was only given 6 months to live. I was on the ship again (of course). We were at sea, but they sent me home at our first port (Rotterdam). I was AB at the time. I remember coming into port. I was on the wheel, 0400. Fishing boat wouldn't get out of the channel. We were on a VLCC and constrained by draft (actually it was the SeaRiver Mediterranean if you know the previous history of that vessel you will get some idea). I was thinking they (pilots) were going to make me run over a fishing boat and I'd get held up with CG investigations while my dad was in surgery. NOT conducive to an easy transit! But he only scraped a little paint off the bow, screaming at us the whole time to get the hell out of his way and he was going to sick the law on us (to put it nicely).

I hope your company will at least let you have the time off (and some sort of pay/benefits) while you have to deal with your family affairs.
Try to stick close to your friends and family. Good luck

ASM826 said...

My mom died a year ago. It was expected, she had been worn down by cancer and the treatments finished her. I have found it was easier to let her go when she so sick and worn out.

I lost an adult child two years ago, that has been infinitely harder.

HMS Defiant said...

i viewed the world from the other end of the boot and my parents were not happy. After almost a year of no word they sent me a telegram via the Red Cross and the Navy. I don't make any bones about it with my own daughter. I'd sooner go in the blink of an eye than to linger in a mental or physical limbo of hell for any amount of time. Faith, it is, at the end, what you close your eyes for one day and accept as,
the end of what we can know.

My apologies for the downer. I'm new here. Found it just now in a moment of reflective calm after writing about the Frank E. Evans.
It always takes me that way.