Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Back From The Not Quite Dead

It has been a frightfully long time since I've written a word. There are lots of reasons, a dead laptop, a Pinterest obsession, two ailing parents and many other life gets in the way excuses I could make. I let myself drift away from this thing I love to do, I'm not even sure why. Coming back to actively writing feels necessary right now, I have missed expressing myself this way, I find myself happier when I write and I need to keep my brain active. I feel terribly rusty right now and I promise to get my shit together sooner than later.

My mother has recently been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer's disease and that is scaring the crap out of me. The idea of getting ill, while scary, has always seemed beatable, or at least, manageable.  This is not something you can beat and can barely be managed.  For the first time in my life, we are powerless.  I have never before been unable to see a way to fix or at least live with anything that has popped up in my path.  I'm a "pull up your socks and keep going" kind of person when adversity strikes.  I'm at a loss right now.  It's uncomfortable and pisses me off.

I know where it will end, I know that someday, and sooner than I wish, I will lose both of my parents.  I would love to fool myself into thinking I'll be prepared when that day comes, but I don't really believe that is ever the case.  I have been unprepared for losing them before they actually died.  That is how this feels and I have to figure out how to grieve for someone who isn't dead.  The people I remember, the parents of my childhood are gone already, replaced by people I feel I hardly know.  There is anger on all sides, there is sadness and grief and so many bad and negative feelings that it would be so easy to succumb and let those feelings be all that is left.  I admit to a feeling of dread when the phone rings and my parents' number appears, I don't want to talk to these relative strangers who repeat everything and remember nothing and seem almost robotic, I want to talk to my mom and dad. I miss who they used to be, while not perfect, at least I knew them.

If any good has come from this, it is the knowledge that I can and always will be able to count on my family, crisis mode or not.  I am the out of town daughter, my three sisters all live within 20 miles of my parents so they are constantly on call.  During the good times, I keenly feel the sucky part of being away.  I would hear about gatherings that I missed and be a little sad and jealous that I was missing out.  Now, the feeling is very different because while I wish I was there to help and do my share, I will also, ashamedly admit to being glad for the 300 mile bubble that separates me from the frequent madness that has started to consume the situation.  I have realized that my sisters are incredible women who can handle anything that's getting tossed their way.  I have never in my life loved or admired them more than I do right now. They are strong, smart, capable and beautiful souls that leave me awestruck on a regular basis.  These women who drove me crazy, took my stuff, bossed me around and just generally annoyed me my entire childhood are the best people I know. You should be jealous because they're my sisters and not yours.

                                          Shut up, we're gorgeous.

I am lucky to come from a family that loves family, not just my sisters that are incredible, but our husbands have been just as wonderfully supportive and are feeling this almost as deeply as we are.  Our children have tolerated a lot of disruption and weirdness, they know their moms are sad and worried.  Family goes so much deeper than just holiday get togethers and occasional greetings, it's about being there when you're needed.  I have cousins that are just as remarkable as you can imagine who have not simply offered help, but rolled up their sleeves and gotten tired and dirty in actually helping.  These are the people who will save us from letting things get too dark and sad.  They are my tribe, they are my people, they are the best this world has for me.

                                               There they are.

I promise not to be too maudlin and sentimental from here on out, but it may creep in from time to time.  There's still a lot of silly in me, I just needed to lance this first.