Sunday, October 05, 2008

I had a different title when I started this earlier.

I had a title about stress relief, and how exercise is the thing that makes me feel most sane.

And I got a lot of stuff done for the garage sale, and Girl came over to review the bits of Grandma's kitchen stuff to put aside anything she wanted for herself. And while she was here, my cell rang, and the caller ID was a cousin in NJ. We reconnected in the last few months. She's part of Cousin C's cohort - L, D and C were of an age, and are now in their 60s, then there's me and another L, 50ish. Anyway, D and I have talked every few weeks. She called me because her father, my mother's big brother, was worried about his baby sister. I did talk to him in person once, but he was so befuddled by the damn cellphone thingy, it was a brief conversation.

D called to say my mother's big brother died today. He got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and was walking back to bed, and just fell down - apparently he was gone before he hit the floor. He was 88 or 89, I can't remember, and still living in his own house with his wife of 68 years. Today was their 68th anniversary.

And I got this call before I visited my mother, which raised the question: Do I tell her?

I decided that if she asked about her brother, I would not lie to her; I would tell her as gently as possible. But she didn't ask. She's in terrible shape herself. Murphy is such a blessing; he makes her happy and gives kisses and gives her a distraction. But she's in horrible shape. The C-diff rages on, and her immune system isn't up to fighting it off. She's refusing to eat. Yet her spirit is still strong -her refusing to eat is a confused but practical response to the reality that "If I eat I get nauseated and then I poop it all out anyway." She's heartbreakingly lucid about this very sad and stupid predicament.

When Paul Newman died a week ago, she took it hard. I promised her that I'd bring her any magazines that had stories about him, and People of course came through with a cover story. So I brought the magazine, and she didn't even glance at it. Her roommate appreciated it a lot, and now I know I will bring the new tabloids when I visit. But my mother slips a little lower every week.

So I kept my uncle's death from her. If she gets stronger I will break it to her gently then.

I've had a perfectly lovely weekend, how was yours?

Now we return to our originally scheduled programming. A report from the dogs:

This woman is CRAZY! She expects us to walk with her - and she doesn't even let us stop and read every interesting bit of pee mail!

Dudley was very grateful when Mommy picked him up. Grandma was trying to kill him - she made him walk a whole mile! Fast! (Murphy did about 3/4 of a mile, and I did the rest without them.)

While I was torturing Dudley, I saw a hawk on a light pole near the path. We have a lovely pair of red-shouldered hawks in the neighborhood. Apparently they have become very tame.

Note the averted head. This bird knew we were there, directly below. This was taken with my phone, so the quality is so-so and the distance is distorted - this bird was maybe 6 feet above my head. I never have the Good Camera on me when I bump into an ideal hawk closeup. It refused to acknowledge us, we were annoying it while it was searching the drainage swale for small hapless rodents. You know how celebrities are - always scanning the room for someone more interesting.

Garage sale countdown has begun. If you are looking for me, I'll be putting price stickers on a lifetime of stuff.


Anonymous said...

Do you know how you would be described in Australia - with approval:

As a 'real little battler!' The addition of the word 'Aussie' of course is inappropriate. The use of the word 'little' in this context denotes approval, and does not refer to size or significance.

Good thoughts coming your way, as always,

Gae, in Callala Bay

Rachael said...

I think you did the right thing with your mom and not telling her. I will always be at peace with not telling Mom that her best friend died two weeks before she did. At that point she was lucid enough to understand it, and she was just so sad that we couldn't do it to her. I figured if there's an afterlife, I was happy for her to yell at me for withholding the info. Yep. And if not, then it didn't hurt anything, you know?
Love sent your way.

Catherine said...

Yeah, Rachael, that's how it is. If my mother asks about her brother I don't think I will lie (though I may fudge the timeline a bit) but she is so terribly, terribly sick right now, the news is not something she needs.

And, based on what I saw when my husband was dying, your mom may have heard from her friend personally at the end. I mean that seriously - I heard some really goosebumpy things while my husband was still able to speak.

Gae: I like "a real little battler!" I also think it's totally cool that I have a support system that extends to Australia!