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


Sweet Bess, we could probably trade places in our parental-familial worlds and be able to step right in without missing a beat. I'm happy for you that Action is being taken and Decisions are being made!

By Blogger Jane, at 11:42 AM  

For the longest time I've been wanting my parents to Take Charge of their old age and clear out their house so that we won't have to do it when That Time Comes. But I had a revelation a few weeks ago, during my nephew's graduation when my mom was so hard to corral, and it was this: she must live out her (healthy) days in their house, because she would never be able to adjust to new surroundings -- she'd be perpetually wandering off and getting lost. She must stay in familiar surroundings for as long as she is healthy, awake and aware. That revelation eased one burden I'd been carrying.

By Blogger Mary, at 2:34 PM  

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Sunday, July 08, 2007  

I’m back from my parents’, not nearly as exhausted as I was when I got in last night, and much more confident that we can get this done - and a wee bit shocked at how fast it will all happen. Sister and I began the great clean-up of my Dad’s house. Sister has had an estate liquidator in and he helped her draw up a plan. It’s an extraordinarily rapid plan too, with an estate sale date set for the last Saturday in July. All personal stuff Must Be Sorted and we got the garage done as well as Dad’s office and clothing. I have to be at home today but I’ll be going back next weekend for both S&S. That’s when it is supposed to be a little cooler (please weather gods?) and we will hit the attic - the other place where there are a lot of personal things. LD has promised to go back with me the next weekend.

Poor Dad is watching his footprint grow small and he’s scared and angry and depressed. If you try to get him to talk about it he growls and says he doesn’t care or growls and says we’re taking away his life and he won’t have it! He’ll make his own decisions (inert ones, those decisions of his). My responsible sister is taking the brunt of this because A. She’s brisk and responsible, and B. She’s the one who is actually there making these decisions. My role is to make mmmmmmmm mmmmmm shhhhhhh shhhhhhh soothing noises and to back up my sister in a soft gentle voice. And to watch closely, then slip in very soft little stilettos of good sense, coupled with a request for a decision, the moment I see his native intelligence kick in. In transactional therapy language: As long as he’s cathecting either child or adaptive child I play the role of parent, but the moment his adult steps up to the microphone, I switch into adult mode and speak to him like a peer. It frequently works! But oh god, having to pay that much attention to someone’s complicated psyche is harder than cleaning out 10 garages!

In a month he will have about 6 pieces of furniture, all his clothes, his personal files, a TV and the video collection Band of Brothers. And then his house gets repaired and goes on the market. And then, if he hasn't done so yet, he’s going to have to decide what sort of apartment he’d be willing to move into. And I keep thinking of my darling friend HL, who moved into assisted living with his wife, who’d gone bonkers with senility and over-medication, and one day just went back to his old house and blew his brains out. Because don’t you believe it when folks say suicide is not an answer. It certainly is one. Not very pleasant for the folks left to clean up, but it sure as hell is an answer.

Well. These are the weird tricks your brain can play on you as you deal with Hard Decisions. Mostly I tell those Dark Side thoughts to go back where they came from. Mostly I’m really fine. Confident. Even happy. Last week it just hit me that all I have to do is move forward and we’re gonna get wherever it is we are gonna get to. What’s the Next Best Step. That’s all we have to do - take it. And I really do have deep confidence that I will - that we will. After all, every family - as I told Dad on Saturday - every person has to do this part too, if he bothers to get born. It’s just our turn.

I could write an absolutely ridiculous rant-like post about this End-0-Life stuff, but I wonder if it would just add to the bonfire of emotions that hover about during a time like this. And I don’t want to be discourteous to my parents either - even if no one who knows them would ever read it. Humor is a great healer, but I’ll save my comedy routine for verbal, not written, delivery. Next time you see me face2face, ask me about it. I’ll have you aching with laughter in 3 minutes.
Got a little Christmas sock knitting done while I was up there and I went ahead and bought the summer issue of Vogue Knitting. I’d looked at it before but honestly summer knitting mags almost never do it for me. But then I looked again at that little knitted dress with the cute sleeves and thought - If I really did get serious about WW and the gym, and got that moxie figure back and if I put long sleeves in that dress - it would be one knock out of a winter outfit.

Stay cool today. I shall be dining with Lord H from Essex Co., UK, on the banks of the Rappahannock, dressed up as Wife of Important Smart Guy. La de da!

posted by Bess | 8:35 AM