Thursday, August 20, 2015

Notes from the Afterlife, Advice from Pillville, and Lovelovelove

August 20, 2012 minutes after our arrival, the long drive from Iowa over.
Warning: this might be my longest post ever. But there's love, booze, broken stuff, danger, death, love, and....more, more, more.

I broke a glass yesterday. A heavy tumbler in a slow motion plummet to the tile. The fall, the impact, the shatter seemed to unwind in slow motion. The sound of it too.

That was after I took my mom out for a haircut and barely managed to get her from the car and into the door of the salon. It was a very short walk--a walk that most people would not even describe with the word walk. Enter, maybe, or arrive would describe the track from car to door. I didn't bring the wheelchair. One of those mistakes to which I'll never be able apply the lesson learned because I'm not taking her out again. But we made it. Thanks to the presence of a bench, I didn't have to gently slide her down my leg and sit her on the sidewalk the way C drilled me months ago after the Thanksgiving night blackout drunk face plant.

The hospice nurse came for her regular visit after we got home. My mom was napping by then, looking pretty fabulous in her new haircut. Her pulse/ox was low-ish again, and her blood pressure was really low. 80/60. Yeah. Take a deep breath everyone. My mom is on hospice. She has lung cancer. For the third time. This is the way it is. She was alert and chatty, telling us how her putty-like legs didn't hurt and how she felt just fine. We raised the head of the bed and gave her gatorade. Told her to nap. The nurse and I went into the kitchen and she talked to me while I took the blood pressure meds out of my mom's pill box. She called in a prescription for a steroid. Then we talked about Iowa.

Today is the beginning of our fourth year in Pillville. My mother has said from the beginning that she wanted to go home to Iowa to die. Every time she said it, I told her fine, let me know when so I can buy plane tickets. For months already, we've had tickets for a visit there the first week in October. Yesterday the nurse told me that if there's any chance that my mom might be re-locating to Iowa, that I need to get her there "before the widow closes." That said, my mom ate a hearty dinner last night and walked around the house just fine. She insisted on scooping out her own ice cream--her usual bedtime treat.

Last night I dreamed of Dan. He came back wearing a new jacket, a pair of tinted designer glasses, and tight jeans. He was with a zaftig blonde, whom I disliked immediately. The three of us spent the night in the same house. He slept in my bed. I felt pretty smug the next morning while she slunk around refusing to make eye contact. I was in the kitchen when I heard a certain rhythmic sound coming from the bathroom. When the two of them came out and went directly out the door, I followed them into the street. We were in a big city and a trolley came by. Dan got on. I don't know what happened to the blonde. You could at least say good-bye, I shouted. He raised his eyes to look at me. Fuck you, I said. He shrugged. The doors of the trolley closed and our eyes held as he rolled out of sight.

Dan Paik broke more than a half-dozen glasses in the five and a half years we were together. He broke them at the table, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, and once in the garage. Other than the broken glass our time together was safe and pretty damn beautiful.

Pete arrives today. He's at the airport in Chicago waiting to board his plane right now. The first day of the fourth year of living with my mom is also another sort of beginning. Pete and I became Facebook friends in March. We knew of one another through the T'ai Chi Chih community (he's been a teacher a long time) and he's also a caregiver for his father. After a friend shared a couple of my Pillville posts, he asked if he could have my email address. Over a thousand emails and hundreds of hours of Skype later, we will meet this afternoon in person when he steps off the airport shuttle.

Two dear and trusted friends are coming to eat dinner with my mom tonight. I hope my mom continues to feel well. I hope I remember to eat dinner. I hope I remember to sleep. I hope I continue to trust the universe and that this story keeps rolling along, and that hearts, heads, glasses, bones, and all breakables stay intact for as long as they are able.


Ms. Moon said...

What a period of change you are going through! Just absolutely amazing.
Well. I send you my best in all regards, for all passages, all new doors and windows, all journeys and all beginnings and all endings.
May there be magic and joy in all of them, no matter what. Freedom, release, hearts held. Hands too.

Elizabeth said...

This is a fantastic piece of writing that says so much with such economy that it leaves me even more breathless than I am anticipating what's going to happen to your life in the next 24 hours. Be well!

CameronShue said...

I can't wait to hear what happens next. As a caregiver for my ex-husband, the only one, I can so relate to you. The only difference is the quality, differential, sedimental value etc of the "love" involved. I really look forward to your posts, trapped here in the midwest, as i am , 5:30pm, drinking Perrier Jouet, writing in my journal and thinking about the endless ball of twine, everlastingly unwinding each day, all the things we think, if only we got "it" all done, then we could rest.

jeannine nye said...

HOw uplifting it is to read Your prose and see how much better you are coping with Dan's loss and now a new friend to meet up with today. Your mother is getting ready for her endgame and yet you remain so positive and touchingly serious when dealing with all that she needs, even having air tickets to take her home.. what a daughter you are and have been... I only hope that one day my daughters will be on hand for me, in the same way you have been for your mother... Have a super meeting and look forward to hearing all about it.. hugs from across the pond.. j

Joanne said...

Ditto on your amazing writing of this post but most important - I'm thinking of your meeting tonight and wishing you a fabulous time. I love that you stay open to love.

Steph(anie) said...

This made me a bit light-headed. In a good way - if that makes sense.

37paddington said...

So much going on, provoking every emotion under the sun. Dan in your dream was interesting, especially when you think of it from the therapeutic perspective of everyone in the dream is you, an aspect of you. I think in an odd way the dream was trying to tell you Dan is ok with you being in love again, and you need not feel guilty about that (if you do). In this scenario, Dan in the dream was you. Just a thought. I can't wait to hear about your in person meeting!

S Kay Murphy said...

Oof, again, just a fine, literate expression of life. Thank you, thank you for your candor in sharing your life events with us, Denise.