Thursday, June 26, 2008

Marking Time

As I try to return to a semblance of reality and routine, I gather fatigue. Maybe it’s because I am missing Daddy. Or because I let many things go unattended over three weeks and I’m scrambling to pick up the pieces. Or perhaps it’s because I feel more responsibility toward my Mom than I ever have. Maybe it has something to do with my health.

Restless is how I feel every evening, beginning at around 5:30 or 6 p.m. for about four hours. It just seems that I should be at the nursing home, checking in on what kind of day he had, how his speech is today, whether he has a sparkle in his eye or the dullness that only dementia produces. I still wonder who is on call for the evening, who is working the floor, which nurse is taking the night shifts. And I miss Danny and the “block party boys”—the precious aide who takes the men from two halls outside every evening, paying for the juice and cookies out of his own pocket. They listen to gospel music in the courtyard under the trees just before twilight.

Frustrated and over committed is how I feel every morning when I begin making phone calls to schedule lessons, weddings, and programs. All I want to do is my Bible study, but I sing to myself, say a few scriptures, and do a few cheers to bolster my energy levels. Then I fall asleep on the sofa late in the afternoon and almost miss my gym class.

A bit anxious is the feeling I have after spending the morning with Mother—seeing her pain level, knowing she almost has all the paperwork finished in dealing with the changes after Daddy’s death. The certificates are filed, the banker’s home will not be her new home, and soon all the notes of thanks will be written. She needs to re-schedule another spinal injection, canceled in the last weeks Daddy was alive. She needs cataract surgery on one eye. Her house needs new doors and locks in two places. Paint, flooring, gates and perhaps a security system, as well as a smoother surface where the car is parked are top priorities. I made the mistake of mentioning 2 or 3 of those items today. She isn’t afraid, doesn’t worry, doesn’t want the invasion of workers or even family helpers, and only cares about new carpet and tile repair at the present time.

We chose the grave marker today. It will be lovely in bronze and granite with dogwoods and a Methodist cross and flame as Christian symbols. The dates of birth and death, and a triangle of straight razor, comb and shears will complete Daddy’s side. Mother will have the Methodist cross on her side. The veterans’ marker will indicate that he served in the Army in WWII and give his rank. That will insure that the US flag is posted for each holiday, especially Veterans Day. In three to ten weeks all will be in place, no doubt.

In this stage of life we mark time by the events in our lives—children’s weddings and anniversaries; grandchildren’s birthdays; length of time spent on a job or in service as an employee; time between doctor’s appointments; date of death. I long for the courts of the Lord, where there is no time, no repairs, no darkness, no illness, no death. And the Big Event will be eternal praise to our God, who is SO worth it.

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