So hubby and I are on vacation in the Florida Keys. Everything is great. I survived the two flights here with panic that I could somewhat control and everything went off without a hitch. We have been down here since Sunday afternoon doing some exploring and relaxing on the beach. My Grandmother lives in Florida so I don’t get to see her much since we live in New York. When she heard the news that we were coming to the Keys for vacation she asked me if her and my Mother could join. I checked with hubby and hesitated to say yes, but only for a few days. They arrived last night.
The resort that we are staying at is large and there is a lot to do. The grounds are beautiful. Last night the 4 of us had dinner. Hubby and I got a little too much sun so we weren’t feeling the best. It was busy in the restaurant so I was quiet, trying to keep my anxiety at bay and observing what was going on around me. This includes my Mother. I watched her daze off while everyone is talking and suddenly snap out of it, telling us she was going to go out and have a cigarette since it was taking so long to get our food. My immediate reaction was really? We’re in a nice restaurant on the resort and you’re going to get up, leave the restaurant and smoke by the pool (which is a non smoking area). I said something of course and she got upset, but from my perspective it just seemed rude. After a few minutes I began to think: was this her anxiety? Was she looking for an excuse to get a breather because she was uncomfortable too? Then I figured if I can suffer through an hour with the family she can too. Plus I was delaying her smoking so I may have added a few minutes to her life. Right?
We finish eating and by this time it is dark. Mom wants to walk around and see the resort. My Grandmother is 80 years young (😌) but you wouldn’t be able to tell if it wasn’t for her exterior. She may look 80 but mentally she’s sharp and witty. Sarcastic and loving. I like to think we’re a lot a like in that regard. She had 2 knee replacements about 25 years ago and put on a good amount of weight. She isn’t in the best physical shape and the only walking she really does is a few feet from chair to chair. She is old give her a break!
Well my Mother decides that we need to power walk the grounds in the dark (some of it is lit, some isn’t) and she’s bringing Granny along. My poor Grandma can barely breathe let alone keep up with her. My Mom seems to get pleasure out of this, almost like she thinks she is doing some good getting Grandma some physical exercise. Meanwhile I’m getting horrible anxiety because as I hear my Grandma breathing heavily all I can think of is her collapsing or falling and something serious happen or she is hospital bound the rest of he trip. Leave it to my crazy Mom to royally screw this up. As I watched my Grandma bee line it down the hallway to the chair in her room I thought to myself I better say something to Mom. My Mom is not self aware and she’s been known to do insensitive things from time to time.
We got to the room and Granny tells us she loves us and will see us tomorrow with the little air that she has in her lungs and heads in to take a seat. Mom walks in after her and I ask her to come into the hallway. I nicely explained to her what I witnessed. She brushed it off acting like Grandma needed it and I was being too sensitive. Maybe I was but just because I didn’t want anything to happen to her and I saw how bad she was struggling. If my anxiety has taught me anything it’s that everyone struggles with something and having a little empathy for someone can make their life a lot easier. There is no worse feeling than being ashamed of yourself due to your limitations, mentally or physically. I understand that we grow by pushing ourselves but everyone has limits.
My Grandfather passed away a few years ago now. He was very athletic until he was diagnosed with dementia the last 10 years of his life. On vacations he was right alongside the kids laughing and doing physical things. He was always the opposite of Grandma. My Mom was a Daddy’s girl and I think she misses having him around during times like these. But Grandma is who she is and she is 80 and not fit to run a marathon. When I think of my Mom I think of her as being 35-40 years old in my mind (she is 55). Perhaps that’s how she thinks of my Grandma.
Needless to say I hope that we can have fun and accommodate Grandma the rest of the trip without my Mom giving her (or I) a heart attack. We are still here 2 more full days and I’m already having anxiety over the flight home and starting a new job on Monday. When I booked this trip I was so excited thinking I would be able to relax and get my mind right before starting the new job. Then the vacation is here and the reality sets in: my disorder follows me everywhere. I can’t escape it to matter how hard I try. It probably doesn’t help that my family hijacked my vacation but the anxiety would be here regardless. It is what it is.
And with that, it’s almost 4am, I’ve been up all night and Mom has an action packed day planned so I better try to put my anxious mind to bed. Wish me luck.