Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Bess, I'm glad to hear that you've made some progress with your parents. I'm sure you're exhausted after each day, family stress is the hardest kind, I think. I really hope your dad gets to a place where he realizes what is really best for him. My thoughts are with you and your family.

By Blogger erica, at 9:10 AM  

Thank you for the update on what surely must have been a draining, if productive weekend. May too many wonderful things to count come into your life this week! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 9:33 AM  

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Monday, March 05, 2007  

Thank you my dear ones, for the many powerful prayers you’ve sent me the past 2 weeks; Prayers, meditations, images, wishes. This weekend we made the first real breakthrough with our parents - the one that I believe will result in both of them being in a safer and ultimately happier place. It was a long weekend, one I dreaded, for it was my job to create a financial profile for my father - a man who still keeps pretty good records, but whose paperwork I have never examined. Unless you are a professional, it is daunting to assemble anyone else’s financial records and it’s even harder to do it when you’re under a time constraint and you have the emotional pressure of family-under-stress.

But I am a librarian. My job is to restore order. And I'm my Daddy’s daughter. And I’ve restored order to BD’s bookkeeping. It was a slow process, but it came to a successful completion and it created not only the financial blueprint for everybody to see, but, of far greater importance, it enabled me to offer Daddy sincere praise for his financial acumen.

I don’t know why a man who had always been quite able to manage his money, was so unable to look at the bottom line this time. Why he dreaded it so. What he thought we were going to think about him, say about him. What demons froze him just at the moment of knowledge and trapped him in the hell of indecision. But I understand how that can happen. It’s happened to me enough times in my life. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have a calm, unjudging hand to clasp mine and lead me up to whatever it was that frightened me so and say "Look. See? It’s nothing to be scared of. In fact, it’s very nice."

Glad I had the chance to play it forward.

Daddy had been released to re-hab on Friday and a nurse has been taking care of Mama from noon to 8. My sister has been filling in the other 16 hours and is about to snap. As I have mentioned, she’s the workin’est woman I know, but she’s not a perpetual motion machine. She’s fraying badly. Mama was much slower this weekend than she was a few days ago - far less mobile and since she has no concept of time passing, pretty much constantly asking for different, even conflicting things. If I let myself, I could fret about how hard it will be on her to be ignored by nursing staff in a group setting. What I do instead is remind myself how much better it will be for her to feel ignored than to feel despised - which is what happens when she’s alone for long stretches with Daddy. His way of dealing with a fretful helpless person is to rage into fury at his inability to help and with someone as needy as Mama - he will be unable to help just about 100% of the time.


He has agreed that she will move to assisted living. He’s just caviling over which. It is my sincere hope that he will see that the difference between the nicest one and the next level down is not worth the price, but sister is in charge of that part. We have told Mama she will be moving within the next 2 weeks. She’s visited the nice place and agrees that it looks like a good place to be. But I know she’s conflicted about living apart from Daddy and living in a strange place and oh - all the many pricks one feels when one must pass through the weedpatch of change.

Truth is, I am conflicted too. This past week that demon-tongue of sadness began licking at the edges of my consciousness. For so long now we have struggled to get our parents to break up their own home and settle into institutional life - because they are frail and falling and sick and breaking and aching and risking their lives and the lives of everyone else driving on Midlothian Turnpike. They can’t care for themselves and they’re tired of failing to take care of each other. They quarrel and fight and shriek and rage at each other, when neither can help being old and frail. Now that they are about to make that change - at least in part, for Daddy insists he will never move into a group setting, I’m forced to look at a life that doesn’t include visiting Mama’s house ever again. As I moved about her house - which is not any place I ever lived, but is where she has lived longer than any place else, images flipped over and over, memories of the past 30 years. Though none of them are childhood memories, they are full of LD growing up, of holidays and ordinary days and long chats and well, they still cover more than half of my own life.

I realize that it would be easier for me, emotionally, if they were both going. It would also have been far easier if they’d made this choice when they were younger and healthier; when they could have made this decision as part of a wise preparation for inevitable extreme old age, instead of as a last desperate effort, long past the time when they could make a happy adjustment. It’s a valuable lesson for me. Lawsee I hope I remember it when I’m about 75.

I still haven’t achieved my vision yet - of Mama in a safe place where people are kind to her and enjoy her and where she is happy, and where Daddy is also safe and happy - but I’m a lot closer than I was 10 days ago. I’m clinging tight to those visions. And I’m mighty thankful for the friends who have reached out to me here. You are all the greatest.

I didn’t knit a stitch the whole time I was gone. I never could settle down to it. I’m teaching a long 5 hour class on Saturday and I really hope to wear TheKipFee that day. Class prep, though, both writing and sample knitting, and getting my 2007-8 library budget through the budget process and story hour and a dentist appointment and all the rest of ordinary life have all lined up in front of me and maybe TheKipFee will get done and maybe it won’t. I certainly won’t knit it in a flurry of stress stitching. I’ll just take it along as show-and-tell - since it’s so beautiful.

I think I shall make a game this week, of seeing how many wonderful things can happen. Yes. That’s a good way to start out a cold, crisp, sunshiny Monday morning. Good knitting to you all, my lovely friends.


posted by Bess | 7:38 AM