Sunday, August 17, 2008

When I was at Mom's house yesterday, she told me she filled the car with gas when she went to Costco.

"You put gas in the car? Yourself?"

"Sure," she said. "I went to the bank, too. I can do things for myself. I don't usually because your dad likes to do that stuff for me."

And there, my friends, is the heart of the problem. For 57 years, they've been the first and last things in one another's days, in one another's lives. They've fought; kissed and made up; surprised each other with quilting machines and peanut butter cookies; raised kids and Cain; loved without question.

Dad will be 77 in two weeks. Scars from a dozen surgeries trace a map of his world across his body.  He has COPD, skin cancer, two hernias that defy repair, high blood pressure, heart issues, asthma, and glaucoma. Oh, and he only has one lung and about half of his standard-issue intestines. 

Mom is 74. She has well-controlled diabetes. 

See the problem here? 

Mom just called. She's on her way to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for Dad's favorite dessert. He's coming home today and she wants it in the frig waiting for him. 

Tonight, she'll hear him tell her good night with her ears rather than her imagination. How long can that last? How long will her imagination hold when that's all she has left?

I know, I know. Don't borrow trouble. They're fine now. Concentrate on that. I try. But with Dad's birthday coming around again, I keep hearing the hoofbeats of time's horsemen, and it scares me. For both of them. 

And myself.


5 comments:

Go Mama said...

Hold them close while they're near. Stay fully in the present. No one truly knows what tomorrow will bring. Basking in the love of the present, keeps the fear at bay.

:)

Michelle O'Neil said...

Those two souls know what they're doing. Trust them.

Doubting Thomas said...

You've hit on the key existential nervousness of the human condition, I think.

I"d like to give you some piece of wisdom to relieve your anxiety, but I have plenty of the same angst myself. The other night during a 10 minute phone conversation with my dad, he repeated one piece of news three times, oblivious to the fact he'd already told me. He's beginning to fade, which means that I am too, and that my son and daughter will also one day.

I don't like this, not one little bit.

It's sometimes said our anxiousness about life's transience can be relieved when we learn how to relax into awareness itself. Awareness, say wise people, exists separately from the cause-and-effect slavery that governs the mundane life.

If either of us ever learn the trick, let's share the information, okay??

Deb said...

I know the sound of those hoofbeats, also. All you can do is love them and cherish your time with them while they're still here. Sending you love and comfort and prayers for peace.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto everyone else. Good material for the quest to stay present!