Posted by: cmittermeier | April 14, 2014

Problems swept under a rug rarely go away

Its embarrassing to admit, but my first reaction to almost any problem is to sweep it under the carpet.  I want to find out more before I try cleaning it up – and its most often because I don’t know how to clean it up in the first place!  Sometimes this is justified, I am famous for creating bigger messes because I jump in without getting enough information.  My kids bring out that in me still, but I’m getting slightly better at reigning myself in.  Sort of.

Yesterday I drove up so they could check in on their Grandma.  Now she’s one amazing lady in her own right. I’d always hoped that if we ever had to have one of our parents live with us that it would be her.  She’s perfect Grandmother material – loves her birds, listens to good music that doesn’t get enough air play these days, and is not the stereotypical mother-in-law who could double as the wicked step-mother.  Nope, she’s the kind of mother-in-law people hope for and rarely get.  She turns 70 tomorrow, and partially because her husband was so much older I’m not used to thinking of her in that age group.

Last year she bought a car, explaining it would be the last she will likely ever own as the previous had made it through 13 years and she didn’t want to be driving much past 80!  It was a shock to my system, but that’s my lady, thinking ahead.  I’m sure she already has it worked out how she’ll get around at that point, my guess is taxi’s as her house is a bit out of town, but for all I know she’s making plans to scale down and move into town where she could walk to everything at that stage.  She looks ahead, but she’s not always the best at sharing those plans so like the car, they sometimes come out of the blue to the rest of us.

Last year, I had a breakdown when caring for her.  She nearly died under my care, and it was too much for me.  Though my collapse was right in front of her, she didn’t recognize what had happened and felt I had thrown her out of my house and forced her on her daughter.  I was a basket case last year and I withdrew from the family, initially out of misplaced guilt thinking I’d nearly killed her and an irrational fear that she’d kill herself, but eventually it was more embarrassment that I hadn’t been able to continue to care for her during her recovery.  When I tried to return, she treated me differently and that made it easier to pull back from the family.

Yesterday she announced that she was selling her late husband’s old shop, because its upkeep was too much for her health.  It, like the car, came out of the blue and raised a few alarm bells – especially for my sons who are still grieving the loss of their Opa six months ago.  He worked till his late seventies, and the news came just days after the oldest got to try welding (his Opa’s trade) for the first time.  The instructors comment was that he was a natural and had thought he’d welded before.  Suddenly they were loosing the biggest thing they connected to their Opa and the spectre of Grandma’s health was raised.  They knew full well how close she came last February – my oldest was beside himself.  My husband had another important commitment so I took them up for a birthday dinner with her.

It calmed their fears, but the conversation in the end brought out many of the things that had been swept under the rug last year when I collapsed.  We are no longer on the list of people to turn to for help.  My embarrassment over not being able to finish continuing to care for  her during her recover wasn’t that misplaced, she and other family members were actually mad at me.  I have no clue if that was in the past and the others have worked through it, as for herself, after hearing my side she expressed repeatedly, ‘no wonder you cracked’.

Sweep stuff under a rug, it decays and attracts bugs making things bigger and more difficult.  Weight is one of those things folks!  If you don’t take care of it now, your aging metabolism will make it much harder to conquer.  Dietary changes are most effective at earlier ages.  Learning how to deal with emotions and not use food to medicate them, well, that should be rather self-explanatory as to why its best done young!  If you don’t learn it then, every problem will add more and more weight.

My husband is tired of sweeping things under the rug, and that includes his weight.  These last few months he’s become more aware that his health is important for many reasons.  He can’t keep pushing it off and has started to make a much greater effort.  He’s lost five pounds and because I will all too easily eat if he’s eating at night, this has meant a much easier road for me.

Facing the things under the rug is very hard folks.  Those numbers on the scale, the buttons that just don’t reach – they are not easy to admit.  But till we admit we have a problem, we can’t deal with it.  If you don’t deal with it, it will fester.  I lost a year with people I love dearly.  They lost out on many chances to help me when I needed it most, all because I was too embarrassed to face them and let them know ‘I can’t keep up anymore’. Seems to me that though dealing with the problem would have been hard, all I’ve succeeded in is adding more problems and lost time.  Very hard suddenly sounds better than MEGA-HARD.

Speak up, talk out your problems, try a few solutions.  If at first you don’t succeed, find what went wrong, change it and try the next solution.  Don’t sweep and forget.

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