Sunday, June 21, 2009

One Foot in Front of the Other

I'm sorry for the silence. I got back from Arizona on the 10th and went straight into dogs and cleaning my apartment in anticipation of my nieces' arrival on the 15th, then showing them as much of New York City as time, tickets and energy permitted until Friday morning. I slept most of yesterday. Writing this blog looks to be the crowning personal achievement of some very draining weeks: I go back to Arizona on Thursday for ten days. This will give my brother and me a chance to catch up on our parents' situations -- there are many -- in person, and to be there in case Mom's next nursing facility discharges her earlier than we would like.

I'm walking around these days with my heart in my throat and sometimes in my nose, that tickle of tears coming. We have a lot of changes to make for my parents that are going to be difficult. Mom's fractures need time to heal. We're getting on managed care waiting lists in Montana so that they'll be near family. We'll have to pack up their house and put it on the market. Dad has had to accept that he needs outside help at least a couple of days a week. Medical facilities have their own agendas with Medicare reimbursements that they toggle without sharing records and even my niece, who is a hospital social worker, can only guess at what help or hindrance those records regarding rehabilitation progress contain. We're all exhausted except for Mom, who is slowly losing her mind.

My abstinence is in pieces. My favorite dog, Henry -- Mr. Happy -- is moving to the `burbs in August. I'm out of cigarettes (quitting lasted 8 hours yesterday until I was making reservations to go to Arizona at 11.30 at night) and Zoloft and the place I order my antidepressants from has not returned my email or phone calls. I have not had much Daisy Time and will have less in the months to come. I have to pull myself together today. Get a two-week supply of Zoloft (the withdrawals are horrible), get my food in order, speak to my sponsor, start writing my blogs, start paying attention to the gifts instead of the broken-ness of my life.

Mostly, I think, I have to realize not only that this is what life is and that food doesn't solve it, but that This Is What Life Is. Parents age, and they die. Dogs move. Separations occur. I suffer from depression, food and nicotine addiction. I have talents. All of these things require day-to-day responsibility and acceptance. And none of them are the end of the world. At worst, they mean periods of great grieving -- but my life will probably move on if I'm not hit by a truck or something. There will still be lilacs each spring, Neapolitan mastiff puppies, yogurt, naps.

And yet...Mom! The woman who made me dolls from hollyhock flowers. Who read me fairy tales and told endless stories from her childhood. Who was a dead ringer for Madeline Kahn and sooo elegant.

It's OK to have a breaking heart.


CatM said...

I was thinking about Montana days, and googled you as someone I was curious about. (I am Jane's niece... met you in Missoula with Mark M.... a million years ago...!) Your blog is terrific... so compelling.. and your photos are so wonderful....Very sorry to hear about your mom; as you say at the end of your piece today... change and loss are inevitable. But heart breaking. And it is okay, and is important, to feel that pain. All the very best to you in the coming weeks, thinking of you, Catherine M

Quilting Martha said...

Frances-Glad to see you back again. Don't try to quit smoking now. That can wait a bit. This stuff is so hard. We are just back from putting my in-laws house on the market, as they have gone into assisted living.

Unknown said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. Been through this stuff with both of my (late) parents; it's like trying to do a new, demanding, scary job at the same time that you are grieving and shaky. Good to stock up on your antidepressant.

Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

It's very okay to have a breaking heart. Life does move on but it's hard to remember that while things are falling apart. You understand your addictions, your grieving, your touchstones, your pain.

Take care of yourself as much as you can, not trying to add more stressors while coping with the existing ones. I agree that stocking up Zoloft is a smart idea to keep you even.

Love you lots, my friend.

Annimal said...

grief. No one can take it from you, no one can cushion it. and it's a sneak. You never know when it'll be hiding in the shadow.
May peace find you

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and wishing you peace - laura

April said...

Hello Frances,
This is one of those times when I am without words (a rare occasion for me, believe me!). I cannot fathom what you must be going through, watching your mother like this (and your father, too...). I lost my father 10 years ago, but it was quick, with relatively little suffering. Grief stays with you forever and hits you in waves. Learning to cope with the sudden onslaught of emotions takes time and practice. Give yourself time... you'll get good at this, too.

Anonymous said...

Patt J:
Your headline says it all. Some days life is really just one foot in front of the other until you get through it all. You've got a lot to handle at this time. I'm sending you my best wishes. Life won't always feel this difficult, of course, but getting through this time is going to be tough. It takes strength, and we know you have it. Keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and wishing you peace. {{{Frances}}} Your writing touches my heart. C/

Bea said...

Both my mothers died. My Mentor Mary is 86.... Love is freely showered on us and our payment for it is grief in death. The hollyhock love will outlast the grief. Blessings.