For the first time in my life I relate to the Edvard Munch painting ” The Scream.” I wonder what was happening in his life at the time. Did he want to scream or did he just have enough empathy to capture in his painting how one who wants to scream feels.
Luckily Munch kept a diary and in it on the 22nd January 1892 he wrote his inspiration for the scream. “I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun went down – I felt a gust of melancholy – suddenly the sky turned a bloody red. I know those red skies.
These skies never make me feel melancholy. I feel blessed to have had the priviledge to see them. What makes me want to scream is when I cannot solve problems. I have yet to come to the realisation that there are some problems I can’t solve and I have to learn to live with that fact.
My 92 year old Mum is constantly asking for help to die or if not die for me to come and live with her permanently so she is never alone. My husband has a terminal illness and wants to live, doing activities that don’t take my mother into account. The two different life perspectives work on me, making me feel that I can’t make either have their wishes come true despite doing my best to satisfy both. It leaves me wanting to scream. Scream. SCREAM.
Sadly my mum has limited cognitive powers. She doesn’t understand what she asks. I doubt she remembers that Roger is sick and dying. She is struggling to remember who people are, what the date and time is let alone how other people are feeling. She is the centre of her universe and her universe has tilted to a point where she knows she is about to fall off. For someone who has always been in control this is terrifying. How do you expect her to believe you when you have always been a person that has never quite made it in her eyes. She has always been right. I have always been wrong. She was wrong then as my life direction was mine not hers, but, I can understand why she doesn’t believe me now and just how terrifying that must be to now be entrusting her entire life to me.
Sadly I love my Mum more now that she is vulnerable than I ever did before. Now she has let her guard down and she is being her true self. I have always been my true self which wasn’t held in much regard but now it is being valued by my mother. But I love my husband just as much as I did when we married. He is resentful. He feels he has put his life on hold for my mother. Not true I think as I think we put our life on hold because we didn’t have people to mind the dogs but when it comes down to it, what you believe, is, what you believe. I want to give my husband the best final years we can have (despite Mother and despite COVID) but today I feel like I want to scream.
If my mother was capable of understanding I would read her this poem by John O’Donohue for “one who is Exhausted, A blessing:
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
For my husband: I can only say I love you. I don’t want to lose you and I hope our time left is longer than you are expecting and that you try and understand my mum is my mum and I want you both to be happy.
A deep breath. I am back in control. Thank you for letting me scream. Sometimes that is all that is needed. Thank you for accepting that I am at the moment intermittent and sometime slow to respond. Sometimes I need that acceptance and for that I thank you.