Sometimes being in a corner feels like you’re trapped in a locked box. Sometimes the road buckles on the way to nowhere and the signs to return home are obscured by curves behind which you can’t identify the landmarks. Sometimes the darkness is so dense that sunlight doesn’t lift the pitch enough for you to see. I’ve been there for the past six months or so, maybe even a year, getting deeper and deeper into a funk. I can’t write because I’m too tired and overwhelmed by responsibilities over which I have little control and less chance of escaping. The life of another person depends upon me but my own life also demands attention, action, and there’s only so much of me to spread, to give, to take care of it all. Then too, a full time job takes more than eight hours a day; it takes prep for the tasks of the work and time for the busy details that let me appear professional. That let me smell nice.
I haven’t had time to write. Or maybe I haven’t taken time to write, certainly not the amount of time a year ago I expected to direct to my books. Writing means so much to me, and I still think and dream writing. I scribble my brilliant ideas on scraps of trash paper, genius insights snare my attention from the tasks at hand, but dawn comes before the sun rises, and dusk finds me anxious and headachy most days. Sleep is illusive and not long enough, and healthy exercise is something other people accomplish. On the surface this must look like depression but I know it is not. It’s Life 101 catching me at my heels, surrounding me with the reality check that it isn’t going to end soon, and when it does, it will only be because someone I love has passed. The fanged wolf waits at my door; I don’t know when he’ll lunge. He will though, I know he will.
Someone I love has Alzheimer’s disease. She needs everything that an infant needs, except that this adult person’s infancy continues to regress and to subsume me. Because this person cannot speak on her behalf or apologize or assist, the disease having destroyed every essential facet of her executive function, I must act for her. I do not fear death, hers or mine, though I fear the pain of a vacant life, of a lingering death. I wonder how she can live with no ability to remember everything she once loved, to plan any event, to anticipate the next day or even the next hour. I fear how long this fractured existence might continue because she is old and I am aging. I won’t say more about it except that I’m weary and that we are both frightened by what we witness of this illness as it destroys so many others with a long, slow crumbling that can only be described as a harrowing existence. Someplace between dark and blank. Barely what we recognize as human – yet they are, and she is.
So the funny New Year’s Anti-Resolution List that I wrote a month ago seems putrid to read now, a lazy attempt at humor. It was nonsense, a snapshot of my giddiness at facing another year with less accomplished than I had intended the previous year and so much that I might do in this new one. I want to write, all excuses aside. I want to paint, to travel, to take classes and learn about some of the many subjects that interest me. I want more time with my family – my husband and sons, my daughters-in-law, and my beautiful grandchildren, especially the youngest of this special brood as he lives 350 miles north of us. We see him rarely, he doesn’t know who we are. I want to write for my blog and work on my books, then embark on the tough road of submitting queries to agents, and probably of prepping my books for self-publication. Because as I worry and wonder when I can squeeze in a few paragraphs, I hear the clock’s insistent beat and know I must get ready for the next day, because it will come and I must be prepared. There is not enough time to write.
Except. It is time for me to get serious about what I can do, what I will do, what I must do. Stated here: I will write. I will write.
Watch me write.