Clearly, I know the biology of how I got here, I was asking this in a metaphoric sense. When I entered university, I thought I had a clear path, I was going to be a psychologist, I decided. My father rolled his eyes and called it a “Mickey Mouse degree.” “Caron, what are you going to do with that, I can’t tell you how many times resumes come across my desk of those-types of degrees, what kind of career is that?”
(Tough crowd) He was not impressed, my mom on the other hand really didn’t weigh in on these types of discussions, she was just ecstatic that I didn’t follow in her footsteps as a registered nurse. (she got the last laugh on that one – as not only am I not a registered nurse- I just play one on tv-(I have unofficially been my mom’s nurse for the last 20 years, since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s)
Then in one of my Abnormal psychology classes- I figured maybe this is not for me. I mean, I am not sure if I can handle extreme cases. I am extremely empathetic, I want to help everyone, maybe this is too much. So, after university, fate would have it that I would own my own store; Bestsellers. It was a video and book franchise- and because the franchisor, took off, everyone was able to keep their stores and not pay royalties. Win/win.
When the market got saturated, I started working for Ontario Works, which Is our province’s social services system. I was a caseworker for several years and then I trained Human Services staff. That’s a short-edited version, of how I got here.
In between all of that, I lost my fiancé to cancer- at the age of 28, My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when I was 30, I had my son at 30, my dad passed away at 31, my marriage ended when I was 44 and I became a single parent immediately.
Okay, looking back at that in writing- that’s a lot. So, when my friend Natalie says to me- “I would be in the fetal position rocking back and forth.” I get it. Maybe that is a lot, I guess. You know people ask, how did you do it? Do what? I literally was clinically depressed for 3 years, I had to see a psychiatrist and a psychologist. So how did I do what? Exactly. Can you be more specific?
I think people think there is a Coles notes version to life. And for the millennials in the back- Coles notes were our student guide to literature- our literature Google -if that makes sense. It helped us decipher Shakespeare etc. I just googled it- Coles notes are still kicking- check out Amazon. Anyhow getting back to Life in general. There really is not a Coles notes version to this thing and the worst is when you are as inquisitive as I am, when you find out that we actually create our own world, it is mind blowing.
I am not sure, how I created my world, but clearly in some form I did. Okay, I didn’t create the things that happened to me, I didn’t create Norm dying, my dad passing away, or my mother getting sick. I don’t recall thinking about my mom getting sick, or my dad having a heart attack. I suppose I did have a choice, I could have put my mom in a nursing home and continued with my life, where her disease did not immediately affect mine. However, I could never do it. Not because I am a saint- (my cousin Steven, literally introduced me to his sons in that way) Steven- I am not sure what the criteria is for sainthood, but I don’t see Saint Caron, on any prayer cards or novenas any time soon. I just couldn’t do it, there that is the answer. I just couldn’t. The end.
My dad always used to say, you will see who your true friends are, when you have nothing to offer. The wisdom of George Leid will live on. I unfortunately got to see it firsthand. When my father was still alive, my mother’s friends and family were involved with her, I suppose because my dad being a CEO of an airport had something to do with it. However, the moment my father died, all bets were off for certain people. I am not going to lie, I was bitter about it for many, many, many years. I saw what both my mom and dad did for people to help them and then when I suppose there was no-one to see- that faded- to nothing for some people.
I was under the impression, that when someone is sick- no matter what transpired previously, you come together to help- I was misguided. It honestly took 15 years to let it go, and that was only because my cousin reached out to me. It would take 4 more years for me to finally get the words that I wanted to hear from my aunt- “I know I wasn’t there for you, and I should have been.” My response,” Thank you for acknowledging that.”
I am not going to lie, when my mom was well enough to walk and be involved, it would have been helpful to me and to her to be involved with people other than her caregivers and me. But you can’t live with would have, should have, could have. I held on to it for a very long time. Most of it because I couldn’t believe that it was happening. I had to compartmentalize my feelings.
I guess, what I am trying to say is that forgiveness is not easy by any stretch, but it is necessary. When people you love hurt you, you have to forgive them. I am only responsible for myself. I know, in my heart, that I have done everything physically possible for my mom, so my conscience is crystal clear. (another Georgeism) I have to say, if it wasn’t for my cousin contacting me- we probably still wouldn’t be speaking. Sometimes it’s not an apology that does it, it’s the act of acknowledging what you did, that perhaps was hurtful to someone else.
So, it goes back to How did I get here?
I got here by taking the road less travelled, that few take, the long laborious road, where there are no short-cuts, many detours and many potholes. Sometimes the road would be under construction and I couldn’t go forward. Other times, I would have to wait for a bridge to be constructed in order to get to the other side, a bridge that was previously demolished. Some roads, led to nowhere – and I would have to put a Dead-End sign, as a warning, not to return to that road again.
Others would be bumpy, so It would slow me down, and I had to fix them in order to go forward. Finally, I built the highway, and now it’s smooth sailing, just waiting to drop one passenger off, when she chooses to get off. She was the greatest passenger of all; my ride or die.