Monday, 15 June 2015

On Being a Burden

I live independently, am mobile with a walker or a cane, and still drive my car. But some things, like food shopping are much easier with help.

Walking around a large grocery store is tiring, then there’s all that loading in the car, unloading at home and putting everything away. It is so much easier for me if all I have to do is fill the cart and put stuff away at home.

So on Sunday when my daughter offered to pick me up to go to the store, I quickly agreed. It looked damp and cool out so I wore my denim jacket. Big mistake. As I was standing in the slow aisle, (you’ve all been there) I got overheated. It was warmer than I thought and very humid. Not a good combo for MS sufferers.

Usually I keep the jacket on, because it seems easier to wear it than try to juggle a jacket, a purse and a cane, and of course anything I might buy. That day I had to take the jacket off while I was standing in line.

But when I hung my jacket over the cart handle, everything fell out of the pockets, keys, change, lip balm and cough candies. I had to pick them all up, which is awkward at the best of times.

I was paying for my groceries as my daughter and her family came by, and they loaded my stuff in the cart with theirs. I laughingly told my daughter about spilling everything. Her response was she knew someone should have stayed with me.

Excuse me? My first response was to be insulted, though I knew that was not her intent. More she just wants to help when she can. It’s terrible to be in this in between place of wanting to hang on to my independence and needing some help.

Talk about saying the wrong thing. Just as her comment hit a nerve, so did what I said as we walked out the store. I said I hated being a burden. She said I wasn’t a burden, and she never wanted me to feel like I was.

Guilt is a nasty feeling. The kids all have full time jobs, kids of their own, houses to maintain, and yes...a life. I don’t want to be an added stress. My guilt is not being able to be the supportive parent, grandmother I’d like to be. Her guilt is that she does have all of the above and little time to spare.

Somehow, we’re all finding our way and making the best of a changing situation. I may tough it out at times, but I know they will be there when I need them. That’s family, and that’s love.

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