Though my guest has left, the shadow still lies about the place. I feel bad for begrudging my self and my sympathy to him, and it is much the way I feel when I long to flee my responsibilities to my parents, with a sense that I am being swallowed alive.
This was what made me leave Philadelphia, as quickly as I could, as if I were saving my life by the act. And I truly believe that I did, and was advised as much by a doctor I consulted as a teenager, a psychiatrist who ran a public clinic, and who turned out to be a very interesting fellow, who had studied with Jung himself. He was a Quaker and a peace activist, and assured me that I was quite sane; my family, however, was not.
On this visit, my uncle let fly that he looked upon my work with my parents as unfortunate, that it would have been better for them to have died than to be reduced to their present state.
Considering my father's unaccustomed good mood and enthusiasm, which was a very rare thing in the old days, before he had medication to control his own dark moods and rage, that thought surprised me a good deal, though I had to admit that their lives were certainly quite limited and reduced, inevitably, on the account of age and infirmity. But I couldn't get out of my head that perhaps I had not after all done them a favor, and that my care for them had more than a little of selfishness about it.
I have tried to put that out of my mind, but it's hard to shake.