I'm in North Carolina. Although I seldom write about my family, I have on occasion broken this rule to write about my parents. This is an update I wrote the second morning I was here. The photo of the tidal creek was taken on New Year's Day, near my parents home.
She mostly sits. She needs help getting up and down. Once up, she walks slowly and on a stroll from one room to the next, she‘ll stop and get lost looking at something. She has to be helped to the bathroom and reminded to eat and drink. Her peek-squeak dog dropped his bone in her lap yesterday. She picked it up, looked at it and then held it for hours. When I talk to her, she looks at me as if she’s trying to figure me out. She sleeps a lot, even sitting up, and she often hums to herself, mostly hymns. She doesn’t say much; if asked if she wants something, her normal answer is ‘no.“ Yet, if you fix her a drink or prepare her food, she’ll say “Thank You.” Sometimes she laughs at herself and her limitations, but not nearly as often as before. It’s as if she no longer knows how much she doesn’t know. On occasion, she’ll start to ask me a question. For a brief moment, she sounds like her old self: “I thought you were… Will you please… What are you… Can you get…” I immediately jump to attention, but before she finishes the sentence, she forgets her question or request. When I ask her what it was, she gives me a blank stare and seems to retreat into the recesses of her mind. The unfinished questions remind me that there are words still needing to be said, but how? She’s my Mom. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2005.
I spent much of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day here with a shovel in my hand. When friends stopped by and asked what I was doing, I told them I was trying to discover where my father had buried the family’s gold. In truth, I dug a trench and placed a conduit and ran a ten gauge line to the shed by my dad’s boathouse (160 feet), so he could move a small freezer there for ice and bait. Digging in this sand is easy, but it's not always sand. There are plenty of roots. Then my father had problems with the down flow well on his water-to-air heat pump (the well that the water flows back into the ground). There were lots of digging to discover the problem (a hose clamped had failed). I’ve still not found the gold. It’s been good to spend time with Dad. On January 2nd, I drove upstate to spend time with my Grandma and to see my younger brother and my sister. I got back this evening and after dinner, came down to a nearby coffee shop for internet access. We don’t talk much about Mom; there’s not much to be said. When we do talk, we get melancholy.