Thursday, October 18, 2007

Boring or Hectic?

Ironically, as I contemplate Lynda sleeping away her last days, bored because she is no longer interested in the world, no longer interested because the world is no longer interested in her, my life has become all the more hectic. Today it seemed as though I had only the few minutes I spent in the bathroom completely to myself, and actually, I didn't get all that much done. It seems that the things I actually do are only in preparation for the other things I actually do and then I do it all over again, without ever know if I've actually done anything or just gotten ready to do it later, perhaps tomorrow.

Yesterday was a tough day, but not necessarily because of Lynda. In fact she was better than I expected, especially after I had a meeting with a volunteer from Support Source, a service that provides volunteers for the bedridden and dying folks who have not yet been blessed with the label: Actively Dying. Intended at first as a service to aids victims, it has expanding to serve anyone who is not on hospice care but who clearly does not have a long time to live. The woman I met, Roni, was extraordinarily nice and sensitive, not just to Mom's needs, but curiously, to my as well. I say curiously because it was a surprise to me when she suggested thaat I might need someone to talk to, but as soon as she said it I realized she was right. I think that time will come, but I told her I wasn't ready yet; I'm still too busy taking care of Mom.

Roni said she understood, and listened patiently as I described Lynda on one of her worse days, warning that she might be 'grumpy' or worse; she can sometimes be rude. Of course, I've seen said behavior, and truth be told, most of the people who get the toungue deserve it. She doesn't need to suffer fools, gladly or at all, and now will not even for the most innocent seeming query when it is not earnestly meant. Treat her as an object and she'll do the same to you.

Well, of course, after these dire warnings, we went in together so I could introduce Roni and lo and behold she was sitting up, awake, with a pink color and focused look. She was not doing anything, but to find her conscious was a pleasant surprise. Even better, she greeted me by name and was actually polite to Roni as she intorduced herself. She even opened her eyes for some of the conversation, although she looked at me instead of Roni. Nonethelss, it was not the angry or weeping or suffering Lynda that we met, but a dimly lit chimera that allowed our guest to see Mom as what she must have been. Roni paid particular attention when I told her that Lynda was an auto-didact and that she had read voluminously and widely for many many years. She heard me when I told her that Lynda was an artist; we never discussed her 'profession' as such because it was understood. In the room, Roni asked Lynda is she would like to draw and she said yes, that her pens were in a case on her desk. They are indeed, and I promised to go get them, which I will, though I have doubts about whether or not she'll use them. It can't hurt, that is for sure.

So far, Steve and I have visited her every day, sometimes twice a day, and Valery has made several trips as has her loyal friend Chris, who has cared for her more tenderly and lovingly than anyone other than Stephen and Anne. She went yesterday to her house to gather some more clothes, then went and sat by her for several hours, talking and helping her eat.

Chris has helped me more than she's helped Lynda, I do believe, and that's saying a lot, because she's helped Mom a LOT; she's been a real godsend in the most literal sense of that word. This family has pulled together to care for Lynda, but it's safe to say we relied quite a bit on Chris, and without her help, it would have been a far more difficult and less humane process.

That's the important part: Chis has helped Lynda maintain her dignity, which is important for this old southern lady, and I'm immesuarably grateful for her. I only hope there is someone to care for me of her caliber when the time comes.

But damn, the time comes too slowly, even when it's coming too fast, or at least so inevitably and inexorably at any pace. It can go too fast and too slow all at the same time and in the same place. This too must be explained in a unified field theory, but that is of little comfort when lost in the dim room where Lynda sleeps next to me. I long to go back or forward either one; staying here is just to damn boring. I'd have said painful, but that seems so melodramatic when I know it's just because there is nothing to say or do and it makes you crazy after only a minute, mostly because you know it's only been a minute and there are so many more to go. And yet, so few...round the circle and out the door, I head home with a dry throat and dry eyes, wondering if Roni is right, if I'll let it out sometime soon.

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