Elder Statesman Update #2

Today I took my cat Patches back to the vet for a follow-up appointment. We went into the examination room, and I let him out of his crate, and all he wanted to do was look out the window. The assistant tried to weigh him, and he was having none of it, he just wanted to sit at the window. She laughed and said, “Well, he’s friskier than he was last week.” As she said this, he hid behind a computer monitor so he could feel protected but could still look outside. This behavior made me feel better because this was his usual vet visit behavior. He has always loved looking out windows, and during the last visit, all he wanted to do was hide.

The vet said that he looked better, but his heart rate was still very rapid. They were unable to do a urinalysis on him today, but she said to just finish his antibiotic. She questioning raising his hyperthyroidism medication but then decided to wait and see how he did on it since he has only been taking it for a week. We have to go back in two weeks, and she will do further tests then. Until then I have to continue giving him his medications and, more importantly, let him eat all the food he wants to try and help gain some of the weight, he has lost, back again.

The Basket

My mom loved collecting antiques. Growing up I was surrounded with antiques of all shapes, sizes, and kinds. She always joked that if you had five of anything, it was a collection. When I was a little girl it seemed like every room of our house had an accumulation of some kind or another. Years after the computer age started, my mom “discovered” eBay and it was off to the races for her. She would bid on numerous items at one time and the day started to be dotted with bid times. One night I was downstairs watching television, and my mom was upstairs on her computer waiting to bid on some item and all of a sudden I hear a muffled, “God! Damn! Shit!” I rolled my eyes and realized she had lost the item to someone else. But it didn’t mean she lost every piece. One memory I cherish now is the day I came home from work to find the back porch filled with packages containing antique treasures she had purchased on the website. It took almost an hour to move them out of the way of the door, so I could then get them into the house. I always loved opening them and seeing what she had purchased and wondered if anyone would see what she saw in the items. Usually what she bought sold right away so we were lucky or we would have been living in our car.

The last thing she bought on eBay arrived after she went into the hospital and I’ve been telling myself that I had to wait until she got home to open it with her. Even after she passed away this message still rang in my head every time I looked at it sitting on the dining room chair. Today something inside me decided that I was ready and it was time to open the box. I carried it into the living room and grabbed some scissors to cut the packing tape on it. I sat down beside the box and immediately burst into tears. My fingers ran across the surface as I gasped for breath. After cutting the tape, I pulled the flaps back, and more tears and grief came to the surface. I had to walk away from it for a few minutes just to calm down and gather my wits again. Finally, after being patient with myself and giving myself the time I needed I looked inside and pulled out the basket my mom had ordered. It’s a woven wooden basket that is quite nice looking, but it also holds a great deal of sadness knowing that my mom had always wanted one just like this and I couldn’t help but think that she finally ordered one and she passed away before she could see it. Holding it in my hands, I felt a strange sensation. It felt like I had maybe scratched the surface of acceptance that my mom is really gone and she isn’t coming back. Opening the box hurt like hell but I think it was a healing pain more than anything else.

Swimming Down

“…the moments when you’re in so deep it feels easier to just swim down.”

-It’s Quiet Uptown from “Hamilton: An American Musical”

It’s been two weeks since my mom passed away and for the first time today I felt like giving into the grief and depression that’s been burbling under the surface of my consciousness. It was so strange, in the quiet moments, I almost felt like something kept brushing against my feet threatening to grab my ankles and pull me under. It must sound insane and that’s how it felt. I have been treading water since my mom left us just waiting to drown in the grief I thought I’d feel. But it hasn’t happened yet and I’m puzzled by that. And yet, I can’t stop fighting the urge to sink. My arms won’t stop paddling to keep my head up. Why am I so afraid to really let myself feel my mom’s loss? That’s what I find myself asking myself. And yet I know the answer. I’m afraid if I let myself feel it I’ll get lost in it. I’ll lose myself in the power of it all. Then I have to remind myself that it has only been two weeks and I have the rest of my life to grieve. I don’t have to feel it all at once. I will grieve in my own time and my own space.