Tuesday, January 8, 2019

I Lash Out, I Rage

Do you know about "Work Oppressive Dreams?" I continue to have them some twenty years after having retired from teaching. They are of the type where I show up at school having left the exams at home, or not being prepared for the day's lessons, or forgetting to have put on my pants.

This dream had to do with Gregory. I dream about him a lot. In the beginning, he was in his diminished state and he was just present in the dream. Slowly he regained his abilities, cognitive and physical, and his presence and interaction in the dreams were closer to "the old Gregory." 

In last night's dream, I pulled up in front of the condo and we were unloading the car. In the dream, Gregory had reverted to his previous lower functioning level. I got the cart from the lobby to unload the car and when I returned he was nowhere to be seen. I panicked. 

Turns out he had gone ahead up to the condo, without my seeing and without mentioning anything to me. When I got to the condo and discovered he was there I blew. My heart was beating a mile a minute (in the dream as well I am sure.)

I proceeded (I will admit this) to yell at him and to "beat him up." Slapping, hitting, shoving ... but not so hard that I would hurt him but rather hurt his ego. Perhaps I wanted him to know that what he did was not a good idea and perhaps my anger would help him know not to do that again. (Poor rationale!) 

It felt very much like watching a parent spank a child who ran into the street and was narrowly hit by a car. The kid almost dies so the parent hits him and punishes him?

I woke up heavy with the dream on my mind. I cried and felt so badly that three years and three months after Gregory's death, I still had so much anger and rage in me and that I acted in a mean, punishing, embarrassing, inappropriate, and uncalled for way.

Fairly quickly, I was able to dismiss the guilt. I understood that sometimes hidden emotions surface before they can be on their way. But I was heavy with the experience and often that is when my best poetryt "composes itself" for me. So at 4:30 AM, I got up and went to my computer to compose this poem:

Normalcy Violated

I work so hard to keep our life as normal as possible.

Then something happens to show me it is not normal.

To remind me that it is not normal. That Dementia rules.

And I react. I freak out. I act in ways for which I know better.

I love you so. And I mistreat you because I love you so.

And I lash out. I rage. I rage and lash out verbally. Physically. 

I hit you, slap you, punish you. Abusivey without thinking.

Because I want our life to be normal, And I am shown it is not.

I want you to be safe, I want our life to be normal.

I do not want you to be frightened or confused or frustrated.

So I lash out. I hit you. I slap you. I punish you.

And then I apologize. And I cry. And you cry. And I love you.

When normalcy disappears I freak out. I am surprised. I lash out.

And as much as I love you, it is not enough to just love you. 

It should be enough, but it is not enough and I lash out and I freak out 

And I apologize. And I am so sorry. And I cry. And you cry. And we love each other. 

That should be enough but sometimes it is not enough and I lash out.

When will I learn? Maybe next time. Maybe next time?

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