Today I will write with all the honesty I can muster, because I observe the thoughts that cross my mind, yet I do not believe them. I’d be upset about them if I gave more importance to my thoughts, and as I come to read on caregiving support, I understand this is quite common among highly stressed caregivers.

On bad days I’m emotionally abused, berated, guilt-tripped and humiliated. With each bad day, I learn that the negative emotion arises from within. I’m told my grandfather used to say “with Christine you need to allow things to come through one ear and out through the other”. Now I understand perfectly well what he meant.

When I allow her words to do damage, at night images arise about putting a pillow to her face in her sleep. As this is involuntary, it does not upset me and I immediately recognize it as a useless thought and I put my mind in a meditative state. I take this as a sign that I’m still working on myself as to not attach my own self-esteem to my grandmother’s treatment.

On good days, I think nothing about it. I wish her not to die nor to live any longer than what life itself dictates for her.

This morning I came into her room and she had rolled over to the other side of her king sized bed. The movement had left her in a contorted position which made her breathing more laborious. She’d seemingly hold her breath for a few seconds, then exhale with a snore. I’ve heard people breathe like this in their sleep, and it never fails to put me on the edge, an impulse arises to wake up the person to remind them to breathe. But today I did not experience that impulse, I found it interesting. I inspected for the opposite impulse: did I want her to stop breathing? No, I did not wish for that either.

These days I feel like a character in a novel of Dostoievsky, but I’m certain the conclusion of this story will be different from his novels. I woke her up and she put herself in a better position for her own breathing.