Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Swimming Dilema

God help me, "dilema" does not look right. There's no dictionary on my father's comuter's tool bar, so please assume I'd do a better job under other circumstances.

I'm hoping to go swimming today. The problem isn't getting time to do it, it's that I need to be chaperoned in by a resident of the retirement city where my parents live. & the chaperone has to have a gust pass punch card, which my father and I couldn't find. A neighbor has offered to take us today if my father's obsession with upsy-downy tomato bags doesn't overtake us. The pie (which I didn't eat) took up so much of yesterday that we visited Mom as she was finishing dinner and was put to bed, a move that elicited a sound of pain so horrible I had to step into the hall to say Hail Marys, my fallback prayer for the worst moments of my life.

My father and I have begun to make phone calls to friends. Perhaps we sense The Time is coming. I don't know. He says only that he misses "Mommy," his ocasional phrase of enormous affection for my brother and my sake. I have no idea what I'm thinking any more except how sad I am. When I said goodbye last night, even her hands were tucked under her covers, like a child. I was crying -- I hit meltdown yesterday -- and said "I love you so much, Mom," to which she replied, "That's all that matters, isn't it?" Her question was partly wry. I know she wants more than words, more than visits, more than the photo albums I brought that caught her attention. I think she wants to be well and, more realistically, to be released from so much pain. She has crippling arthritis, not life threatening but much harder to live with than her pulminary condition.

And I think, like any scared child, she wanted Dad or me to get into bed and hold her, and warm her.

All I could tell Jim when we spoke later that night was to be prepared. He's coming down next Saturday. I don't like thethought of leaving my father, blind, on his own for four days again.

My food isn't perfect by a long shot. I wanted some wine more than I wanted pie, and I had 2 glasses diluted with water and ice. Jim laughed that it was a fair trade-off and I agree. Slightly lit, I proceeded to make my father bacon and eggs and ate the remainder of the eggs and a bolw of grapenuts, which I'd had for breakfast, the only other meal I had yesterday. That was a "good" food day for me. Actually, it's the best so far.

I keep tellling myself how many people -- you among them -- are pulling for me. This is life. I always say I want a life: well, this is what life is. Draining, bewildering, demanding, fractious, disoriented. I have to learn to BE in it, do what I can and not eat. And if I can do that, then someone else who is struggling and eating might have some hope they didn't feel before. It reads corny, for which I'm sorry. But for now, my livelihood is how I deal with my mouth and my body. I don't have the luxury of certain kinds of privacy.

So there are a few answers: I can't go swimming on my own; my brother isn't here sharing the pie; my father is simply more at ease knowing I'm here to find pie tins and pass on phone numbers; and I'm kind of a wreck.

Thanks to all -- love, fmk


Anonymous said...

My heart hurts for you as you see your mom's pain and brace yourself for what may be not far away. As difficult as it is, I'm glad that you are there, and I know your dad is.

It's hard to be perfect with food and body stuff when facing hard life things. Just take one challenge at a time and try not to obsess over whatever it is because there will be a next thing coming.

I love you lots and will be keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you - laura

Anonymous said...

Sending you warm loving thoughts and prayers....

April said...

Again, you are my hero. To be in the middle of all this and still willing to share it all with us ~ incredible. And when you say you were looking for life and this IS life so you need to learn to be in it ~ brilliant! It is what I constantly struggle with. I live on the fringe of life and can enter lovely moments of friends lives... or I can step aside and stay on the fringe. It is dangerous living on the edge of life, not really belonging, watching others feel, make choices, live, etc... It can seem like a life sometimes, but it isn't, not really. So you are right. I need to learn to live life and BE in it, too. Life is messy, but I am guessing that it beats the alternative...

Lori G. said...

Frances, I am so proud of you with the trade. I know this is hard and I'm proud of you and honored you're sharing it with us. I know we're helping you and I wish we could do more. I feel for you and what's going on with your mom and your dad. But know we're thinking of you and love you.

Bea said...

Godd Heavens, I have been so caught up in my own travel Hell I didn't even know all of this. Please take care of yourself, your Mom and your Dad. I will be paying for all you.

Anonymous said...


I have been reading your blog for months, without ever posting a comment. I'll bet there are hundreds (or thousands!) of other "lurkers". I decided to speak up at last to tell you how much I admire you. The part about being "in" life really had an impact on me today. So true, so true!

I want to send supportive thoughts and positive energy your way. Consider yourself HUGGED!!

Ruth in California

Unknown said...

You're doing great. Seriously. This is hardcore difficult stuff.

Does it help you to imagine us all rooting for your food abstinence? If so, use it. But if not... please only do it for YOU, not for us. I personally tend to rebel against peer pressure (which is why I'm a multiple-times Weight Watcher dropout), but I know it can work for some people.

It's so sad to watch a parent become the child.

You seem to have a good handle on what your father's anger is all about, and the ways he expresses it. All the emphasis on physics, cosmology, the quantifiable -- hanging on to hard facts when life becomes slippery and threatening.

I hope someone is warming your mother's hands when you can't be there at a given moment. Prayers going out to you all.

Anonymous said...

Patt J:
Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. As hard as it was for you to write this, there is a particular paragraph (about "this is my life") that really resonated. Thanks.

Marian said...

Life *is* hard, because you are constantly rubbing up against other people! The Bat Cave is easy, the Bat Cave is also death. I'm glad that you are there for your parents and glad that you are taking care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Frances -
I keep checking back to see if you have posted - just want to make certain you are doing ok and taking care of yourself -
Saying a prayer for you -

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