Autopilot becomes the way we handle things flung at us as new caregivers. Actually, who am I kidding? It didn’t get easier just because it became longer – in fact, the longer I lived on emergency-ready, life-and-death mode, the grayer my world became. My son was four-years-0ld when we started his cancer journey, and I was 39. When we finished chemotherapy, he was 7 1/2 and I was 93. My always-learning brain had turned to mush (Anita calls it chemo brain by proxy) and I literally saw through a gray haze. I functioned on autopilot – but it worked, because of Who my pilot is: this is a poem I wrote shortly after finishing chemo and realizing I was in deep-struggle-mode.
I’m on autopilot
From place to place
Unaware of where they’re going
Lost from where they’ve been
Across words on a page
Reading and rereading a passage
Unable to soak it in
Around conversations flying by
Desperately trying to pick out information
Confused by threads of thought
Over pieces of a conversation
Tripping over thoughts refusing to be expressed
Incapable of coherence
From task to task
Forgetting how to accomplish anything outside of an emergency
Helpless to proceed
I’m on autopilot again Lord,
The only way I can do anything at all
Is to have You
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