Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 27 FW

I'm in Hocking Hills this weekend.  I had hoped it would be cool enough to hike a bit.  No.  Hiked anyway - although I kept it to short flat and easy.  Which also means crowded as hell.  Too many people.  Too many little people yelling, screaming and climbing on everything.  Just not the vibe I wanted.  I'm also a bit disappointed in the cabin I rented.  But it was a last minute impulse decision and this is what was available.  It used to be my go to venue when I needed a short vakay.

Today I snagged a few letterboxes (10) and realized it's been almost a year since I did this.  Probably should make sure to do a little of this from time to time.  Feels like the marathon days are over with Sno' leaving town and lil brother losing interest.

It was good to belt out Amy Winehouse and Adele at top volume and off key as I twisted through the back roads of Ohio.

But this trip on the whole has made me a little blue.  Sometimes crying along with Amy.  Sometimes distractifying myself away from poking at the source.

But the source came anyway.  As everything these days does, the sadness centered around my mom.  She and I have enjoyed traveling together for years.  When she was diagnosed with AD, I knew these trips would end one day.  I knew there would be a last trip.  The October before we moved her into Memory Care, she and I took a four day weekend to Hocking Hills.  It was harder than I remember I'm sure.  But I'm glad we did it.  Glad I splurged on the cabin upgrade since we spent most of our time there.

On our one trip out, we hiked to Ash Cave, just like I did today.  It wasn't until I stood there in that bright August sunshine surrounded by all that unwanted noise, I remembered that she and I had done this together.  I could not get out of there quickly enough.

How could I have forgotten that?  Why the fuck did I come back here?  Pretty sure this is now my last trip here.  There are other places I can go that won't make me sad.  This one is being retired.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

FW 8.17.16

One of the comments I hear a lot in Alzheimer's world is something akin to "and just for a moment I got her/him back."  I get it.  I've said it.  Part of me will always yearn for the person I used to know, yearn for how things used to be.

But that is such a deadly way to think.  I just can't stay there.  I accept the thought when it comes.  "Oh.  Mom would have loved that."  "Wow.  Today she is much more herself."  Then I just let it go.  She might echo some part of the person I knew from time to time, enough to make me melancholy.  But that person is gone, locked so tightly inside her own mind I may never see her again.  Will likely never see her again.  And that's OK.  I am OK with it.

I look at my sibs who, eight years into the journey, still stamp their feet like spoiled children and insist that she be the person that they knew, that she always and forever be that woman.  I say that truthfully as a former foot-stamper of Olympic proportion.  Sigh....I'm glad I left that behind.  It hurt.  Oh man, did it hurt.  But it needed done.

And after I let go the image of my strong independent mama, I had room for the huggy-kissy-squeezy mama she is now.  Some days I prefer her this way.  Relationship is simpler, more truthful and taps the core of us as humans without our various crutches and filters.  And after I have had this kind or relationship, I wonder if I will ever be content with one not based in acceptance, not based in truth, not based in love.

Yeah.  Asked and answered in one

Sunday, August 14, 2016

FW - Sunday 8.14.16

The little head bobs by about table height,
circles back and makes to crawl up on the bench
on the opposite side of the booth as she asks,
"Can I sit with you?"

In that question I am immediately smitten.

Smitten by her head of tight springy curls, her cafe au lait skin.
Smitten by her innocence of stranger danger.
Smitten by her recognition perhaps that I am alone and need company.
Smitten by the sweetness that pours out of her eyes like honey.

Dad retrieves her, apologizes and suggests the next booth.

She bounces up on the bench and turns to talk
while mom and dad are ordering food.

I say, "Hey look.  We are neighbors."
She laughs and there is no better food
being served up here than that sound
bouncing around the industrial space.

I ask what she's having for breakfast
and am told "a cindamon roll"
and I wish those were on the menu.
Cindamon rolls with a side of laughter.

There's a little familiar glitch in my heart rhythm
I recognize, a yearning.
It's been a while since I wanted that,
wanted her.
But I chose not and was not chosen
not this time, not this life.

Maybe it's reading Laurie's poems
roughed off the surface of that shell.
Maybe it's understanding the ways that work with mom
would work with kids and
knowing I could have done it.

And on a rainy grey August Sunday
wondering why I ever chose not to.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Peach of a Poem (for Mary Ann Jansen)


 Summer browned legs dangle off the tailgate
     black chuck taylors
     red ball jets
     white keds
kick back and forth.
Sometimes random.
Sometimes in rhythm.
Red-white-red-black-white-white
Red-black-white-black-red

Among them, two tumbled down baskets.
One stained on the bottom from long ago apples
eaten before this trio were born.
A few left forgotten in the bottom to rot and stain.
The aged wooden slats brown and known.
The other is younger
like the tailgate riders themselves
Yellow-white unmarred by fruit or life.
Both piled high with peaches the size of their dad’s fist.

They had come to apple pick
but the orchard man had begged them
to pick the peaches instead before they ruined his trees.
And so they did.

They filled four bushels
and ate their weight in fruit
devouring a sweetness they were starving for
until it dripped from elbows
until grinning faces were runneled
with dirt and sweat and juice.
They laughed as the bumblebees
light and taste and try to decide
if they are fruit or foe
or if they are peaches.

The owner of those red ball jets is old now.
She dare not climb a tree for fear of falling.
Her damaged knees no longer swing without clicking.
And the bees no longer taste her.
She is old and bitter to them now.

She smiles, thinks to herself
Silly bees.
The peaches and I
became one long ago.  

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...