Wednesday, November 22, 2017

it's been three years

dear dad,

it's been three years now since you left us, which both seems like an eternity and just yesterday. as you know, i mostly talk to you in my head when i'm out in my garden, but i've been a bit absent lately as november is the darkest, most dreary month in denmark. it won't be that long before we go back towards the light and i'll be back to my usual conversations with you as i dig and plant beans and weed the asparagus.

i think you would be sad about mom's decline, but probably not very surprised. over the past year, she's lost her driver's license because she became a danger to herself and others on the roads. she had likely been that for years, with her distracted driving habits, donut in one hand and rooting around in her purse for lipstick or her glasses with the other, but in january things got serious. it took three cops to pull her over, despite driving on the shoulder at a crawl, and she was wearing slippers and no jacket and the windows were rolled down on a bitterly cold january day. some kind soul from platte gave her a ride home that evening, but everyone knew it was time for her to stop driving. the state agreed and took her license.

not driving meant her days in the house were numbered, as she couldn't get anywhere to get groceries or socks or menard's mugs or whatever else she felt obsessed to buy. but her cooking abilities had declined so dramatically after your death, that she wasn't cooking for herself much anyway and her diet was terrible. she'd always had a cavalier attitude to questionable canned foods, and her alzheimer's did not improve that. she wasn't taking very good care of her diabetes and her poor diet didn't help that.

so we found a place for her at tlc. they are kind to her and feed her three solid meals a day. they remind her to take her pills at the appointed times and she's in good physical health. helmet-clad, she rode her bike all summer, going out to the house when she wished. but then people began to call and report that she was in the middle of the road, not off to the side and they were worried about her safety. they reported it to the police and not that long ago, some busybody from the city office had the city's lawyer send a letter, asking for her bike to be taken away. the cow person in question enlisted a relative's help in obtaining moneek's address, but did that relative give her a heads up? no, she did not. that didn't feel too great.

as mom's confusion grows, she gets weird ideas in her head - it's her brain trying to make up for the gaps, to fill them in with something, anything. and it doesn't always make sense. recently, that resulted in her deciding to walk out to the house in the middle of the night - seeking home on some basic level. the police brought her back to tlc and safety, since it was a cold night and she was walking, no longer allowed to ride her bike. and then this week, the state paid a visit, given a heads up to a potential problem with mom by, probably, that cow in the city office. happily, they found only the truth at tlc - happy, content, well cared for residents.

and i'd love to be able to talk to you about it. i'd like to know what you would think. i think you would be disappointed. the supposed christians of that small town, indulging their righteousness, rather than kindness and compassion. all their kind words and admiration of you do not extend to mom, especially not as she loses herself. it makes me sad about platte and think that once she's gone, i may actually never go back there. as i feel now, i certainly feel no desire to do so. i think if i did, i would probably march into the city office and give that busybody a piece of my mind.

but if i look deep inside myself, i have also had trouble finding compassion for mom. she so willfully, studiously avoided being self-examined all these years, tho' she didn't avoid being selfish. it's been hard to watch and hard to summon compassion. but when i think of all she's lost since she lost you three years ago...her driver's license and thus her freedom, her home (it's still there, but she doesn't live in it), her horses, her mind, her memories, her friends (it's hard to be friends with someone with alzheimer's), her phone (she never knows where it is)...i do feel sorry for her. and i think it would make you sad too.

we miss you and we also miss her, even tho' she's still here in body. but i'll tell you more when i'm back in the garden.

* * *

and for something completely different:
these pictures are very striking.

1 comment:

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

I sending you a great BIG hug from Greenville! Julie,your dad is always with you and your mom.
My thoughts are with you.