Mental Illness

Caregiving: Surrender

There comes a time to surrender. I can’t see how I will ever make my peace with it, but I endeavour to achieve acceptance.

At this moment, the clock hands are approaching 1 a.m. Bed is a must, I need to sleep. I am not quite comfortable leaving Mr. Juniper in his bed. He is asleep for now, but the nightmares had already started before his head hit the pillow. Like a horror film, he said.

There will be lights left on for him. There are nights I stay up too late. I sit here in the kitchen listening to him sleep. Sometimes I stand in the doorway, agonising over whether or not to wake him from difficult sleep, to remind him I’m here, that here is home, that home is here.

Eventually, I go upstairs, Juniper Puss at my heels. He makes sure I get to bed before returning to sleep by Mr. Juniper. Under the covers, I try to let my thoughts wander to restful places. I hear a cough, footsteps. On elbows, I prop myself up, straining to hear better. I better check, I think. Downstairs, I creep into the living room. Mr. Juniper isn’t in bed. Bowel disorders pay clocks no heed. He’s in the bathroom. I push the door ajar, say quietly that it’s me. Sometimes he can get himself back to bed. Sometimes not. I help him into bed. Another goodnight, and I creep back up the stairs.

There is a clock in our bedroom that is mercifully quiet. I still end up watching it. The minutes creep by and I sink into sleep. There have been nights when sleep has come as the sun is coming up. Those nights were long, long ago. They were agony. These days, I have a fair weather relationship with 3 a.m. We acknowledge each other, acquaintances. But 1 a.m., the hour and I know each other too well. I have tried to reacquaint myself with 10 p.m., even midnight. I long to go to bed with midnight.

Will he be there in the morning? I bargain with myself that if the first part of his night is smooth, then the second part will surely be okay. The bargaining doesn’t bring resolution. The real bargain that drags my feet towards the bed is that if I don’t rest, I can’t care for him properly in daylight hours.

Lying in bed, I surrender myself to the possibilities of what he is capable of. I surrender myself to the reality of how far he has come. I surrender to the unknown. I surrender to my belief in him. I surrender to the surrounding darkness knowing there is a soft glow of light for him even in my slumber.

By Juniper

Rarely to be found without herbal tea nearby. Team Unicorn. Often in pyjamas. Also: TEAM KATNISS!

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