Sunday, September 7, 2008

Home after a weekend away

I didn't want to go away this weekend but it seemed like the "right" thing to do, since my brother was also coming into Florida for the weekend.  Another point of "listen to your gut feeling and do what you think it the right thing for you" getting ignored again. It turned into an unsettling trip for me, and I was fairly cranky the whole time.  Since I didn't really want to go, I got all antsy on the plane and felt cornered, had to get up and move my seat (luckily there was room) to the bulkhead.  I finally settled down and got relaxed enough to enjoy the flight.  Got picked up in Tampa, and drove down to Sarasota.  

I think the first thing that unsettled me was the fact the ALL the lanai furniture was in the house because of the hurricane threat.  I slept in the spare bedroom, but couldn't use the closet or the drawers as they were all blocked by that nasty vinyl web furniture.  I've seen it this way before, so have no idea why I was so unsettled by it.  Secondly, I'm not that familiar with being there at the same time as my brother, so we kind of got on each others nerves a tiny bit!  Thirdly - there is just too much to do!  I'm perpetually cleaning when I am there, there is clutter everywhere and I just have the overwhelming urge to organize, or clean.  My MIL lives down there now and I have to see her, and the aunts and other cousins.  I got the guilt trip from MIL, who wanted me to help with her computer...and from mom who wanted to know why I was with MIL.  And one of the aunts is insulted because I didn't see her - all this because I took two hours for myself on Saturday AM to get some essential "beauty" work done. And I wanted to spend time with my brother, who I really adore, and with Dad - who can barely see me when I walk into the room.  Somehow it never fell into the rhythm that I usually get going after a day.  

Maybe it's just too many changes at once, or the realization that they (the 'rents) are so old and while they are independent now, they will not remain that way for very long.   I rely on Mom to be upbeat and to dye her hair red, and to exercise every morning (despite being 85 years old), and to be the "crazy aunt".  I rely on Dad to know how the economy is going,  and to listen more than he talks, and to throw out a few stories every now and then.   I dread a bad illness for mom, where she won't be able to care for herself.  I know that Dad is just going to get skinnier and skinnier and be the incredible shrinking man.  I know it all,  I know it's inevitable, but I hate the thought..and it was enough to get me completely unsettled this weekend.  

I'm glad to be home, but wish my parents lived closer so that not every trip would be such a long ordeal; that I could just pop over with dinner, or take them out to Sunday brunch.  It's not that it would be easier - but I think it would be better - for them..and for me. 


Lynn said...

Thanks for sharing all of this Mim.
I just came from a visit to my aunt and uncle both 89 yr old; cousins, a slew of them; talking about life; politics (not good to do with them we are so different in opinion; aging; health; grandkids. I come away feeling a mix of emotions. So much is surface...sharing what we are doing, that is fine, sharing our kids problems and/or happinesses;
getting, giving, frustration...
Watching too these elders shrinking in size, as the years eat away at them; amazed too at their attitudes (positive) and health (good); even though they struggle with my aunts dementia.
Well, just knew you'd understand.
So thanks for letting me share it with you as I listen to yours.

ElizT said...

Yes, I know all about that.
I took care to include the children and grandchildren where possible, hoping they will do that sort of work and worry for us when we need it.

Mim said...

It is tough to watch this all happen, I try to take heart in the younger generation, but they weren't brought up as closely knit as my generation was. My cousins and I, aunts and uncles, grandparents etc, all lived in one building in NYC - and I feel that most of my cousins are like sisters and brothers to me. But..we are all dealing with our own parental issues and it's tough to keep up with them all.

I also try to keep away from politics - not that we disagree - but my parents and MIL get most of their "information" from internet urban legends, Oprah (or Ofrah as MIL calls her) and gossip. That makes me crazy, and I think of the power of the internet with these old people. They think those random emails are journalism!


Debra Kay said...

After sharing my life for the past year or so-you know I know what you are feeling. It's true-our parents are there, but they are gone-we are in charge now. I honestly believe if I hadn't been here last week my father would have just gone back to bed and probably died because they didn't want to hassle with going to the ER.

Moving so close-maybe not such a good idea-or at least one that has been harder to get used to. But, in the forseeable future, down the street instead of across town will make a big impact on all our lives. Daddy would rather die than go to a nursing home, and as Mom's capabiities fade we are going to have to work through what my picking up the pieces will be's not going to be three individually prepared and laid out plates a day like they have now (thanks to Mom).

Mom is having trouble with burning things and she is a massive food control freak-so figuring out how to help out in the kitchen without becoming a waitress and short order cook is going to be one big bed of roses I can tell you. I've tried making extra and taking it down, but they are quick to point out they don't like the way I cook (probably because it has flavor and real ingredients....LOL).

My brother is coming for the holidays and I took over T-day (reservations), the after dinner dinner (I'll bring lunch meat and sanwich stuff)and Bill has orchestrated the Friday dinner with all the kids. Even that has been a challenge-because me taking over dinner was originally intended (by Mom) for me to do the cooking down here. 800 square feet, two seniors, one brother, 4 grandchildren and 4 great granchildren (none of whom are mine) HELL no. The kennel bill I'll save by not doing it will pay for the freakin dinner.

I miss the days when I could grumpily say I hate holidays and slump off to Mexico for the week.

Fern said...

this makes me sad Mim...and makes me want to go to the movies with you..something senseless
an excuse to eat a bucket of popcorn and forget the real world.


ksklein said...

My mom is 57 and in best of health. But still I fear the time when she can not take care of herself anymore. We are 4 kids, but we all don´t live in the same time.

Though it may sound hard I think it is good not to live in the same place.

Mim said...

Deb - I too miss the days when I could claim independence and hautily tromp away - it just doesn't work anymore. Fern - I'm up for a movie, with a big thing of butter soaked popcorn - and it has to be a mindless movie.
Kerstin - enjoy your mom and take advantage of your time together. Years from now you'll find a way to pay her back for all her family love.

ksklein said...

@mim: I do hope to give her back a bit of all she has given us. She didn´t have it easy in her life.

Hey, here in Munich the Fantasy Filmfest is currently running. I´m inviting you and Fern to join me here. :) And for sure, most of the movies are mindless.

soulbrush said...

yikes i feel so sorry for all of you with aging parents, man it's so hard....almost think i was 'luckier' that my folks died before they reached 60!lotsa hugs and wfs to you my friend.