Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday with the folks

I guess it's in the air. Everyone's parents are getting old, failing and decrepit. Our roles as parents and children are crossing over one another at the dividing line. We make suggestions and come up with solutions, shouting them from where we stand, our minds and bodies still keeping pace, mostly. Saturdays we visit Eddy first, now in care, it's depressing. We stay a shamefully short amount of time, but how long can you sit watching someone sleep? We move west to the city and see my dad, now 84 and his wife. My parents I say and pause, my mother is dead. My stepmother, now my only female parent has Alzheimers or some other dementia-like disease, and my father are the parents of record. They are one unit, bound tighter now that she is dependent on him entirely and he is more dependent on us, our open arms, palms raised up offering help with anything, everything. We eat lunch with them, bake cookies, clean up here and there. We are jovial and encouraging, helping her with the words she can no longer connect with, seeing that he is not becoming overwhelmed with this new position of care giving he has been thrust into. After a time we go outside with him discreetly and discuss things that need to be discussed while the dogs pull and sniff around the block that surrounds the house, circumnavigating the island of their despair. On the way home we stop to see Mark's mother who is the best off of all of them fiercely independent still and able to mother us a little which feels like a relief because we are not ready to cut loose that generational buffer between us and our own eventual demise. At night I dream again and again of my mother and relive her illness, she is well and then not well and then dead again and I forget how it happened but I am grateful she comes to visit me and I suppose it will be this way with all of them and then me and on and on.

1 comment:

Dreaming said...

Yes, I have become the parent of my father. I make sure his shoes are tied and that he has a jacket when it is chilly outside. It's sad, but also very satisfying to give back. We joke with our boys about taking care of us when we get older...only, it probably isn't that much of a joke!
Bless you guys for caring and visiting!

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