On the Road Again

Having had a long weekend with only a short family visit with the other side of the family last week, it's back on the road for us tomorrow. Going to see the 'rents.

I really don't want to go into this here. But. My mother was one of the smartest women I ever knew. She ran the family business in partnership with her father and brother and my dad. She could tally an inventory sheet in her head, faster and more accurately than anyone else could run it through a calculator. She did the New York Times crossword in ink. Over breakfast. With no mistakes. She was a volunteer (in her "spare" time) at the library. She read voraciously, and taught me to do the same. She taught me to cook, and was as skilled in that as anything else she turned her hand to.

All of that is past tense now, but she is still with us. In body, if not in spirit. My mother has been stolen by Alzheimer's disease. She can't read. She can't cook. She can barely feed herself. She is mean. She is a pod person, but she lives in my mother's body.

I have to go visit her this weekend. I'll take my husband and my dog, because she remembers them and loves them both. Although, to be honest, sometimes she thinks the dog is a cat.

For those of you who have been, or are being affected by Alzheimer's grip on someone you love: my condolences. It sucks. I read a great book this spring about one woman's struggle with her mother's case. I recommend it, but be forewarned, it is a hard book to read. Eleanor Cooney's "Death in Slow Motion."

And my father is ill, too. When I was a kid, there was nothing he couldn't make. Nothing he couldn't do. Nothing he didn't know. I'm not in the least bit sarcastic when I tell you that I worship the water he walks on.

He taught me how to fish, and how use shop equipment, how to read animals tracks, how to make an orange into a squeezable juice container, and how to figure out almost any mechanical problem.

He was never a large man, but to me he was (and is) Paul Bunyan. And now his disease is turning him into a frail little old man. That, more than anything is what makes me sob into my pillow at night.

Tomorrow I'll go and visit for the weekend. I would rather be on the beach. I would rather be in Paris. I would rather eat fucking glass. But I love these two people more than any words could ever begin to express, and so I'll go and listen to the person who is not my mother anymore tell me the same stories she tells me every time she sees me. I'll spend the day in the kitchen, cooking and freezing food. I'll spend time with them, because in the end, that is all we have left, and a precious fucking little of it, at that.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07/11 at 06:11 PM in Maudlin Crap

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