Missed Communication is a Big Deal

I can’t remember the little nub of an idea that got me to make my way here. Things in a nutshell that come to one, generally after 4 AM. It took me a while to find my way here, couldn’t remember where I was hidden. The nub is gone–such wisdom, and it must have been like that for the epic poem that was ruined by a knock at the door, asking if he would like his tea, Coleridge’s Kubla Khan. He and literature cursed their way down the centuries, but, “Sorry Samuel T.”, you are not unique. So many fleeting ideas, great nuggets to put down, hurry! Ah but it’s gone, the busy mind gnawing on something tasty has gone silent and it is like only the wind in the valley can be heard, the voices are done. So, without that bit of wisdom that seemed so valuable in half-sleep? Carry on.

I messed up but the current consequences do not seem big. We don’t listen to each other very well. We don’t call on one another when we should. Gem was in hospital for a week. On Monday I went to see her three times, morning, afternoon, evening. Sam is never unsure about his visits, but I think about things, like don’t stay too long or, is this too short?, come back later with something, or with some news, or having done a favour, see you in the evening, I love you. I think I have doubts, like my sister-in-law, often unsure whether I have said or done the wrong thing.

The next day was Tuesday. I walked to the pool, unusual, thinking of taking a quick swim, but a kid had just had an accident and was being first-aided and the lanes were cleared so I didn’t go in, waiting for life guard staff to resume work. I gave up after a while, the kid was fine, the ambulance people had him walking around, maybe a concussion. The morning was gone, I had my lunch and texted Gem, ‘On my way.’ She texted back, ‘I am home.’

Oh, surprised. Nurse removed the tube Monday and they thought it was safe to let her go on Tuesday.  I could have picked her up with the car, how did she get all her stuff home? She had said, I will stay with you for a few days. We’ll stay cozy and read books. That was all gone. She was already doing necessary errands and didn’t want any company.

Wednesday I packed a breakfast and a lunch and went to hers and got yelled at, I don’t want you here. Okay, let me eat my breakfast, I yelled back. She said that scared her. I said I just wanted to eat some breakfast. She remained mad, this was her place, her peace and I shouldn’t barge in. I apologized, I won’t do it again, I’ll just go when I am done. But. We went for a drive and ended up at Stanley Park train. She told me she was meant to be at a meal support group on Hastings, I am not sure whether there was time and I could have taken her there, or that we were too late. But I thought we were being cozy, rare time to communicate. North shore for 12:50 noon movie, Crazy Rich Asians, which was amusing.

Yesterday, Thursday afternoon, picked her up from talk therapy and we went for a drive, South East Marine to Fraser foreshore, new developments going up. There was a Starbucks, apparently built for the workers. I had a root beer, she had a peppermint tea. We went to Oakridge Mall to find out why our phones would vibrate but not ring. She had to take a phone call, so she sent me to Apple store where they reminded me of the ring button, all my messing with the phone settings the other day was not to blame, it was just the stupid side button, Ah yes.

So the call had been, ‘You missed support group yesterday. Bad, bad, bad.’ Considering eating disorders can be about guilt and control, they seem to be able to guilt people. Though maybe it was gentle and perception called it guilt. But I think it was control in an effort to battle another kind of control. Anyway, she was disappointed that her plans, to be driven nine hours up to the lake next week, were ruined because she skipped group yesterday and has to be there next week. She had told me almost too late to get her there, but I had thought it okay to encourage her to just relax with me for the day and we saw the movie. Bah.

If she had told me she had to be elsewhere? If I had thought to ask? She said she was afraid to ask. I am so empty-headed. I need to put myself in someone else’s shoes much more of the time, and check in with them, and find out what is going on for them!

She has anatomy exam today and I have doctor for the sunburn sensation on the skin of my elbow. Probably something new like arthritis, even a locum can nod and shrug to tell me. Terry Fox thought he had a sports injury. I know the sensation will disappear just by hearing someone say it is nothing. Her anatomy exam was scheduled Monday after the Friday she was admitted at St. Paul’s, but she got it deferred to today, the last day in the exam schedule. She has three courses this fall, the last prerequisites for applying to the graduate program in occupational therapy.

No nugget of wisdom. But a bit of history and soul searching about putting myself in someone else’s shoes. Meantime the past couple days, back-and-forthing with former student Joanna, about Sauder School withdrawing her acceptance because of 20% difference between her provincial English exam result and her school mark. Tons of putting myself in another’s shoes there.

When we saw the musical ‘Hair’ on Granville Island a few years ago I had known the music for years, but the meaning in the song “Easy to Be Hard” was a revelation. A person, a loved-one, is taken for granted, while causes and nameless people get more attention. It seems I could better help students than my own children. I think I had an assumption my family gets the support they need from the village (in the sense of “it takes a village to raise a child”). And I am that support for others.

But we are all messed up by now, in that I am guilty of not being there, not moulding and helping my own children. My son says, not so, while my daughter says, absolutely. Profile of marketer Arlene Dickinson from Dragon’s Den, she touched on the same sense, wishing one could be two places at once, but there you go. So now that I retired in June it is just as anyone could have predicted. My family is done with needing me or benefiting from my presence and, unless I find something purposeful to do, I will spend more time acknowledging my guilt than doing any good for anyone.

Not the nugget I woke with, that was much shorter is all I know. Those come to me in a brief flash on walking or ruminating just after waking. And I think, Oh, I should write that down, and, it’s gone.

I often wonder if women universally have the same experience, waking to ruminate on what should have happened in the past, and feeling a slow build-up for how this day should unfold? I often think everything I think is universal to how other women think. Subsequently moving through extremes makes me think that other women have travelled the same path and simply altered their conclusions as well, e.g. when love is fine, it is possible for anyone, and when it is broken, I feel confident that others before me have noticed how this works and arrived at the same conclusions.

Envisioning the work that needs to be done is natural at the start of the day. On the other hand, men with nature start their day in another way–whether it is universal, I don’t know–and by the time she has settled in her mind how she is going to slay this day? He is either intelligent enough to be supportive and encouraging and she feels he is on-side, including his affection, or he better find another time of day to feel the way he does because amorous is out of place when there are problems to face. Get out of her way.

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