Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Rosier View. . . .

I've not quite arrived at a rosy mood or view myself yet, but will concede that there are reasons to move in that direction . . . .

Although my Mother's cancer seems to be reaching a point at which the benefits of chemotherapy are so small as not to be worth its damages to cognition and memory, my siblings and their families have been remarkable in their immediate care for her.  She's managing to keep some food down again, which is a relief, and she even got out for a little walk yesterday, after a week in bed. She's rarely been left alone, partly a result of a flurry of e-mails setting up a schedule. After my brother advised us of the results of the latest check-up, two sisters immediately claimed the first two nights' care, and made suggestions for what would be needed over the next while. My brother-in-law arranged an on-line Granny calendar, my sister-in-law, a wonderful nurse, oversaw the new meds and put some good nursing practices in place. Another brother-in-law helped his wife, my sister, arrange the purchase and delivery of a new bed for the guest room as we probably won't be leaving Mom on her own now, and the old guest bed was pretty gnarly!

With six daughters and two sons (all with amazingly supportive spouses who also love and care for my mom) living within a 15-minute drive, Mom is reaping the benefits of all those tough years of raising a large family. We've done this once before when my father danced the cancer dance (I really, really hate that battle metaphor, just hate it!). It draws some families together, and we've been lucky that it works that way for us.  Already, I've seen so many examples.
Here's a little one. . . .Knowing that I'm not only worrying about Mom but also feeling helpless/useless being so far away, and knowing I'm felled by this foul cold/'flu, my sister texted me this photo the other morning: My twin nieces, saying an encouraging "Good Morning" to their Granny. This one really lifted my spirits -- it's so clear Mom's surrounded by love. Now if only we can get the pain meds and the appetite and maybe even some walking sorted out . . .

Meanwhile, back on the island, I've spent a weekend feeling very sorry for my cough-wracked self, struggling between naps to get a first set of essays marked AND to reread Shelley's "Adonais" so that I can introduce it to students on Monday.

Can I admit to you that part of me wants to whine, "It's not fair"? I don't want to work AND feel sick at the same time. If I'm being sick, I want to be reading mystery novels or doing a little knitting . . . at the very least, finishing the weekend papers. . . .

Another part of me is too tired (and yes, perhaps a mite depressed) even to whine; she finds it hard to muster the energy to do anything.

But the part of me that's a grown-up (and she's shrunk considerably this week, I have to say) knows that considering how very unfair life can be, I've got it pretty good.  While I reserve my right to whine or to sink into a fatigue fog, I'm working on counting my blessings. . . .
To that end, besides writing this post. I also showered, washing my hair, and dressing in Non-Pyjamas! I finished up a small knitting project, proving to myself that I CAN find time for my own stuff, even if work dominates the weekend. . .

Knowing that this post is an effort of will, a determination to at least acknowledge the positive, I hope you'll accept its ramblings. Here, I'll sweeten the pot with a photo that helped me count my blessings yesterday when it arrived on my cellphone, along with a text from my daughter saying that Hattie sent her Love to help Nana feel better. . . .
As far as counting the blessings go . . .

Wishing you blessings and rosy views . . . .

28 comments:

  1. Sending you virtual homemade bread and jam, which is my 'cure all' for everything.

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    1. Thank you! you're inspiring me to order up the real thing. I'll put the manservant on it immediately. . . ;-)

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  2. This brought tears to my eyes. You are so fortunate to have the large loving family that can help your Mom in her "dance". It's a lovely metaphor for what is a challenging time. Your ramblings are not falling on deaf or non sympathetic ears here. I've been in your place with my own parents separate "dances" with the beast. Being ill with this bug on top of your work level would probably have me with my head under the covers!!
    I hope you feel much better soon. Sending virtual chicken soup and hugs your way!
    Jennifer

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    1. Thanks so much for the understanding and the sympathy, Jennifer. It's a tougher stage of life than one might have expected, isn't it?

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  3. Don't you love those baby phone photos? They're so immediate and a JOLT of the sort of energy or hormone or whatever this Nana needs too.
    I'm glad you're feeling better. While you can't get over there and help your mum, and you're feeling helpless, at least you can see that she is enveloped in loving care.

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    1. I do love them! Not only for the photo itself, which always guarantees a smile, but for the way my adult children are reaching out, tightening the bonds. . .

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  4. What a comfort to know that your mother has round the clock care and so much of it is family. It must go a long way for her too knowing that she is encircled in love.

    I do hope that you are on the mend and not rushing back too soon . I think I did and that must be why I got the flu on top of the cold.
    Chicken soup and rest are my prescription.

    Take care,
    Leslie

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    1. I did get back to work too soon, and have paid for it this weekend. Was already to head back today and then just realized I can't do it -- simply don't have the strength. So chicken soup and rest it is. Thanks.

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  5. I am think of you Mater and sending warm hugs. xoxo

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  6. Hi Mater, I'm so very impressed at how your family has rallied round your mother; she is indeed reaping the well-deserved benefits of all those years looking after the family. I hope that this knowledge lightens your own burden of worrying about her.

    Hope that well-timed text photo is working its magic!

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    1. It really does help, difficult as it is to be one of two family out-liers, geographically. . .

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  7. I am not sure how I missed that your mom has cancer. My apologies. I am very glad to hear you are feeling better, a bit better, with your cold/flu. Your family, of origin, and that you created, seems like an actual work of art.

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    1. No reason or need to apologize -- it's been there, in the background for 5 or 6 years, requiring some cutting here, some radiation there, here a chemo, there a chemo. . . Poor Mom. . .
      Thanks for the comments on my family . . . it is, and does, work, and is a central sustenance and purpose in my life. I sense the same of you. . .

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  8. Mater, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's cancer, but it's good to hear that your family comes together so beautifully in support. And I'm glad to hear that you're up and about a little bit at least. That Hattie is one beautiful baby!

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    1. Thanks Sue -- I do think she's very lovely, our little one. . .

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  9. Mater, these are heavy days for you. I hope that you soon feel better, that your mother's care will be sorted out quickly, and that as the cancer dance whirls around you all, you will find daily strength.
    Sweet baby photo. Such sweetness eases an aching heart.

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    1. It's balance, always, looking for the sweetness even where there are aches. . . thank you!

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  10. What a lot you have on your plate just now. Not surprising that your body is not playing ball. I do hope you can find some more time to sit and knit and not work! It is a hard time when close family are ill and hard when you cannot be there to play your part. I sympathise utterly. My father is going into a long decline with a neuropathy which is robbing him of all fine motor control. My mother does a marvellous job of caring for him and my sister and her family are a wonderful support. I live six hours away but found myself so oppressed by a sense of needing to be there that I have arranged to be there one week in six. It's not a lot but it makes me feel better to have a structured role in what is happening. I realise I am fortunate to be self employed so that I can have the flexibility! That's a great picture of your mother. She looks surrounded with care and love.

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    1. My husband has negotiated a similar solution with the eldercare on his side of the family, trying for a week out of 4. So we coordinate calendars. . . ;-)
      Very tempting to move to retirement to accommodate this stage of life, but I think I'm not otherwise ready. . .
      Sorry to hear about your father's situation which must be frustrating for all.

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  11. Wow - it seems you are experiencing two extreme points in the cycle of life and I can only imagine how many emotions you are managing at any given moment. Your mother does seem immeasurably loved and cared for by your entirely functional family. It really is a wonderful scenario in so many ways, if very painful. I haven't lost a parent and I really can't imagine how I will deal with that. I don't ever want to consider it though, as things go, the likelihood is that I will have to deal with it and to make sense of it. I only hope my parents have as much support as your mother.

    Grief is a walk we take alone, but there are many rest stops along the way. It seems that you have wonderful resources, near and far. Find hope and joy in them. xo

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    1. It is tough, K. I've been through it with my dad, and perhaps hadn't expected some of the emotional swirling so much again with my mom. But it's there . . . .
      Thanks for the kind words and support.

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  12. And Hattie is very beautiful in that photo...

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    1. thank you, I do think so as well, biased Nana that I am, but it's gratifying to hear so from others. . . ;-)

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  13. Thinking of you and your family. I was 3 states away when my father was ill. Thank heavens for phone calls! Often we grown children would meet at the airport, one going, one coming. I'm so glad you have a tight family who is circling 'round.

    Stacy

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  14. Thanks, Stacy. And yes, thank heavens for phone calls -- and we do so much through email as well -- not sure how all this organization could have worked in days without it. . . And at least I'm not having to do airports, as you were!

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  15. I´m so awfully late here with my comment in wishing you health and strength at a time you really need it.
    You have a wonderful large family around you-hold tight!
    Both pictures are simply lovely.

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    1. Thanks so much, Mette. It's surprising how much comfort I draw from these comments. Our blogging community is such a resource, isn't it!

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