To care deeply and offer care. To breathe into the moment. To pause, go slowly, give thanks, say, “I love you.” I’ve been learning this again … and again in these past weeks since my mother went into the hospital with an infection called cellulitis that was quickly made worse by pneumonia. On September 9, I flew quickly to New York to be with her. She’s been learning to breathe more deeply and consciously, learning to do that which has been done habitually and shallowly for 95 years. We are learning patience and trust in the body’s inherent ability … and desire … to heal, to live.
Each evening, I step out of the rehab facility into the day’s last light and breathe real air for the first time in hours. There’s a world out here. I breathe, drinking … gulping fresh cool air, feeling as though I haven’t tasted it in a lifetime. Grateful for natural light, for clouds, for rain on my face. Grateful for grass, flowers, and trees. For the fleeting contact – a nod, a meeting of eyes, a few words of New York-accented humor — for sympathy shared with the people carrying flowers or ‘real’ food, heading in to visit, to comfort, to cheer. We are a common brother/sisterhood of hospital-visitors.
But this is only my excuse for the past two weeks … even if these two weeks feel like two lifetimes and Fort Collins — a universe away. In the past months, I couldn’t find my way to writing a single blog post. The well was dry even before I upended my quiet life to come and camp out in my mother’s apartment in an assisted living residence, to shape my days around visits to the hospital. (There are books of blogs to be written about places like my mother’s residence! Last night, returning around 7:30 and stopping to update two old friends of my mom’s, who wanted to know, “How’s Winnie?” — we were interrupted by a tiny little woman bent over her walker, calling, “I need help. Matinee musical.” Every attempt to clarify, every question, was met by her moving closer and asking, “What?” My heart ached as I wondered what this lost human being’s days and nights can be. My heart warmed with gratitude for the couple and the staff who came running, for the kindness and concern offered so unreservedly.)
My excuse to myself for not blogging in the past months (I suppose, in the etiquette of bloggers, I should have written a blog to tell you why I wasn’t blogging?) has been that I’ve been focused on the last stages of getting the memoir ready for publication. It’s an excuse but one that those of you who are so inclined to be kind and forgiving of me will probably allow. Well, the good news is that Life with an Impossible Person is inching its way towards you. Molly, my intrepid editor and friend, and I are currently proofreading the second and improved proof-copy of the book. We are hoping for a mid-October publication on Amazon. October 16th is Winnie’s 95th birthday. My hope is to celebrate it with her … with the book.
So, thank you for your patience. Thank you for your support. Thank you for being in my life. I will write again with updates and let you know when the book … is finally and really … a book!
Sending this with love, as ever.