Towel Toss

pataleta / temper tantrum

pataleta / temper tantrum (Photo credit: rafa2010)

I want my life back.

I’m tired of having to put aside the things I want (and need) to do in order to walk the dog, grocery shop, go to the post office, do laundry, clean house, pick up loose ends, run to the pharmacy, drive to doctor appointments.

I want several hours (preferably days) ALONE IN MY OWN HOME with no one asking me questions or wanting something or needing to be monitored.

I’m tired of making three meals a day because I have to make sure someone eats.  (I’m a grazer; left to my own devices, I eat when I feel so moved.  Sometimes I eat cereal or popcorn for supper, but that isn’t appropriate for my patient.)

I’m tired of interruptions, of not being able to string two thoughts together without being called away.

I’m tired of repeating myself, endlessly, because she forgets.

I’m tired of hearing her repeat herself endlessly, because she forgets.

I’m tired of trying to keep her entertained and stimulated.  She’s doesn’t watch TV and seems unable to enjoy music anymore.  All she has is books, which she devours.  (Let me tell you how many trips I make to the library in a week.)  If she ever loses the ability to read (and she will, it’s inevitable), I don’t know what I’ll do.

I’m tired of doing this alone.  My husband is TERRIFIC with her, but he acknowledges that the brunt of it falls on me.  My friends Mo and Ryan are wonderful, and Mo has been particularly willing to come babysit to free me up.  I don’t have the luxury of having family near-by (although, as I learned from my Hospice families, that doesn’t always guarantee involvement).

I just want my life back.


You bet.  Hang around a while and you might even see my stamp my feet.  If I had any extra crockery, I’d be out in the garage flinging it against the walls.

On some level, I suppose this whole caretaking thing is worth something, but I can’t see what.  Not today.



About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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6 Responses to Towel Toss

  1. Lara Grantham says:

    Sweet, sweet ‘Wisha. Definitely not a temper tantrum- completely understandable and valid to feel what you are. For what it’s worth, I really admire your honesty and your devotion even when it’s anything but easy. In good old Coastie references, keep on holding on to those anchor points. Will be praying.

    • Thanks, little adopted Russian girl. 😉 Will do. (For those not in the know, Lara is sister to one of my former sponsor Coast Guard cadets (now a Lt and an old married dude) and she is one of the joys of my life.

  2. Shelly Belly Boomer says:

    Pup, I KNOW you want to do right by her, I know you love her and that is why you chose to do this. That doesn’t mean that it is easy. Heck, a year ago where was I? between a wedding, personal issues, going to Saratoga and a few other things that will remain unmentioned but you know of…I felt the same way. maybe not the same, but very similar. You listened to me, and I want to do the same for you. There are so many times I think I wish I had more than 2 days off, more time to do what I have to and still have time to drive to CT once a week. But I don’t, and the stuff I have to do can be minimized. I am willing to come and stay to give you a break. I know that doesn’t give you time alone in your own home but it is a start. By the way, isn’t that the point of your blog? to vent some of your frustrations? Do not think that anything you are doing has gone un-noticed by me, you are doing a fantastic job. I can say that I do cherish the days I had with Grama in Saratoga but the one thing that was so overpowering for me was how much I missed my “Grama”. Have you considered taking up target shooting? (visualize a face when you shoot, very therapeutic)

    • I wish you could have heard my great ROLL of laughter at that last comment! Actually, funnily enough, I HAVE considered taking up target shooting and I LOVE the idea of putting a face to it. (Bet you can guess a few of the chosen.)
      Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Thank you for noticing. I remember how you felt when you first took on the role of Mom and Dad’s sole (soul?) support, how you thought it could be easily managed (and with you working full time) and how quickly your sanity unraveled. We’d love to have you come down any time. No, it won’t give me time alone…although it’ll give me time to go BE alone if I need to. But, really, having you here to laugh with is terribly therapeutic, especially since I don’t get out much to socialize.
      And, yes, venting is the point of my blog….and to let others in similar circumstances know that it’s okay to vent and whine and snivel and scream and holler and cry. Because we’re human and we’re hurting…not only for ourselves, but for those we caretake.
      And I completely understand the notion of missing her even though she’s right here. Because so much of the wit and sparkle that made her who she is, has fled. It’s learning to appreciate her for the “new” person she is (redefined every day, which is another exhausting component). It’s learning to find those moments of gold.
      And target shooting.

  3. That’s totally understandable. I was an only child and so the responsibility of taking care of my mum in her later years fell squarely on my shoulders. Although she didn’t have Alzheimer’s there were times when I just wanted to run away somewhere and scream.

    • EXACTLY! Thanks for “getting it,” Sue. It’s not that I don’t care about her and it’s not that I don’t want to do right by her. It’s just that sometimes (a lot of the time, lately) it seems pretty damned overwhelming.

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