Well, to all my Newsvine friends, I apologize for my recent absence and silence. It's been about a month and a half, I think. I have a lot of reading and catching up to do.
The last few days in particular have been busy and trying. I am the daughter of an aging parent, facing the issues one does at this stage of things in a loved one's life, and in one's own.
I was the daughter of two aging parents, until I lost my father this summer. Actually, we had been estranged for the last 20 years or so, after an incident that positively broke my heart, and--as I decided--for the last time. It takes both parties to fix a relationship, at least sometimes. But regardless of this, twelve years later, at my paternal grandmother's funeral, I found myself greeting him enthusiastically and calling him "Daddy", like I always used to do, the little girl in me unable to resist expressing herself. [But I'm ok with that kind of contradiction in myself. I get it, even if no one else does.]
And even though I felt I'd lost him a long time ago, when he passed, I realized it had just been a long and incomplete goodbye. The finality of his passing was the period on a very long sentence, and strangely, a period that carried as much weight as all the words that came before. Apparently, I had never really said goodbye in the first place. I realized my father's death was also the death of hope. The hope of understanding, resolution, and reconciliation; the hope that my dad would make things right; the hope of having the father I always needed and wanted and deserved--the one I felt was trapped inside the father I did have, unable to give birth to himself. The man my father never saw inside himself, trapped beneath--I now believe--self-loathing and fear. I would have tried harder to save him, if I hadn't been so busy saving myself. And so it sometimes goes.
But my mother I am close to, and always have been. Close enough that we behave sometimes like an old married couple, together for so long they really get on each other's nerves, bicker about everything, and sometimes can't stand each other to the degree that each gets irritated at the mere sound of the other's breathing. Engaging in an endless, angry, yet passionate dance, but never abandoning each other.
But the truth is, I dread the day when that breathing will end. In fact, I am terrified. I was not ready for this. It's been hard enough to watch the changes in my mother over the years--both age-related and those due directly to illness. The last three years, in particular. The changes seem to be picking up speed, and I feel I can't run fast enough to keep up, while I do not look forward to the end of this race. I want that magic stop watch that I can click and time stops....and then I wake up and remember it doesn't exist.
Oh well. It would probably all go wrong, and I'd end up reliving an episode of the "Twilight Zone."
This week my mother had a bad fall while walking her dog, after getting tangled up in his leash. She ended up with a hell of a black eye. She's not sure if she lost consciousness or not, just that it took her awhile to get her body to obey her commands and pick itself up. [And the dog ran away, and we haven't been able to find him.] After some medical attention and a CT scan of her head, a mass was discovered there, about which we don't have full details yet, and we don't know if it's related to the fall or not. Or serious. [The lab people looked a bit grim, though.] It may explain the stubborn headaches she's been having. [And a few other things.] If not for the fall, we would not have discovered it. [Divine plan, anyone?]
And so the race gathers speed. Again. And I try to pick up mine. I think I may have, a little. But I can't help but worry how much more speed that race will gain on me in the near future, and if I'm up to the challenge.
I often say "I've been running on the fumes of faith for years." Although not always well, or with grace. But a skill I do possess.
What I never expected to here myself say is, "I'm glad for all the practice."