Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Traveling, my last trip and my parents, and fancy bathrooms

The photo was taken two weeks ago in my front yard...

This week, I’m traveling again and as I write, I’m sitting in O’Hare, wondering when we’ll get out as a record low front is moving through… I’ve spent the night here before, it ain’t fun. But they do have new toilet seats in the bathroom that puts a clean covering on the seat for you. I was amazed… Once I get to Central America, you can be sure the bano will not be that fancy. But enough of that, I'll leave further bathroom reviews and comments to Murf and Bone.

While I start another trip, I am going to reflect on my past one and break my rule about not writing about family in this blog as I share a glimpse in my recent trip home last week. As for catching up on blog posts, that’ll have to wait till November.
My short trip last week to North Carolina was to check up on my parents, to see how my mother was doing and spent time with my father. I knew that when I came down, he’d let my mother go into adult day care so we could spend time out on his boat fishing.

I don’t think I’ve been prepared for my parents aging. My father is still in good health and always seems much younger than his years when he’s behind the wheel of his boat, steering it through the channel. As the bow splashes through salt water and the wind blows in his face, he could be a teenager. It’s hard to imagine that he’s his age.

My mother is another story. With Alzheimer’s there is little hope and my prayers as I was flying down to North Carolina had to do with accepting that cup and being able to see (or at least have a glimpse of) grace. A year ago this summer, she’d called my sister and me by name. That was the first time in a while that she’d used my name and may well be the last, for she hasn’t used my name since. For me, during this past trip, that period of grace came one morning around the kitchen table. On this visit, I found Mom even less vocal than before. I think I could count on one hand the number of words she spoke in the four days I was home. But she surprised us one morning when she said, “I believe…” As soon as the words came out, she got quiet and didn’t say anything else. In the head, I knew she was beginning a sentence. My mother often was timid and would begin a sentence this way… “I believe it’s gonna rain,” she might say, never wanting to put herself out there (in case she was wrong) and say “it’s going to rain.” Although I have no idea what was on her mind that morning, the phrase, “I believe” was enough. It took on a whole different meaning for me, reminding me that sometimes belief is all we have.

I wrote the above sitting in O’hare. I’m posting this from a wonderful view of the mountains in Costa Rica. (see photo below) Life is good and the world is beautiful.


  1. They have that same toilet seat device at the Miami Airport - pretty cool. :)

    My mom is in the very early stages of Alzheimers. It's heartbreaking to watch. I feel for you, Sage.

    Lovely lovely Costa Rica. Just lovely.

  2. Sorry about your Mom.
    And your Dad.

    I hope you have a good trip.

  3. As always, I appreciate your posts on your mom and dad.

  4. Very touching. I am sorry about your Mom. Im glad you at least got to hear words that have some significance. xxxooo

  5. man. the part about your parents rips me...i have watched my parents at the early stages of aging and i dont know that i am ready to accept that cup myself...echoing prayers...

  6. You're pictures are beautiful. I'm just starting to notice the colors of fall here. Alzheimer's is so cruel. Thank you for sharing your trip.

  7. Lynn, I am sorry to hear about your mother. I recommend the book, "The Forgetting" (I don't remember the author, I can find it when I get home, it a compassionate look at the disease.

    Thanks Vince, Ed, Michella and Brian

    Kontan, with the wind coming through as I was leaving, I'm sure the leaves are now all gone back home. But here, it's hot and humid.

  8. I'm glad your mom gave you that, Sage. Such a nice gift.

    Why are you in Costa Rica? I wish I could go back!

  9. So sorry to hear about your mom's Alzheimer's. Such a terrible disease. I'm glad your father is still in good health.

  10. As their children it is our ability to deal with their fading that proves how well they raised us. Both my parents are gone and i was able to see them through the darkest days of their lives and come out better, wiser for it. You could sat it was the last lesson the old folks taught this now old man.

  11. I always like it when you write about your mom and dad.

    Our parents are so precious. More my mom ages, more she gets younger...I really admire her childlike enthusiasm in everything she does...

    BTW, beautiful photographs...

  12. I hope you have a safe trip.

    Like you, I have difficulty with the fact that my Mom is getting older. I have to remember to savor these days as they could evaporate literally in a heart beat.


  13. Wow, a self-renewing public toilet? I think I've had a dream that involved one of those before :)

    I'm not sure anyone is prepared for their parents aging. I wish I could say something more meaningful or helpful.

    Hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip.

  14. Thanks for talking like this about your parents. It takes courage to be so honest in this public medium. I've just passed the 50th anniversary of losing my mother, and I get blue for a few days whenever this time of year rolls around.

  15. They have those toilets at Coushatta, my favorite casino. I have no relationship with my parents. I don't know if I'd even recognize them, let alone if they'd recognize me. Sorry you are having to watch someone you love fade away, though...I can relate to that.

    The picture of Costa Rica is beautiful. Have a wonderful trip.

  16. Wow. Costa Rica? I hope you get a chance to decompress and relax a bit. I'm so sorry about your mom...that's got to be so freakin' hard. I can't imagine. It must be so hard on your dad, too.

    Please try to take care of yourself and enjoy the trip!

  17. yes, think there are 3 kinds of shocks of aging. one, seeing old friends who have aged but you haven't. two, seeing that you yourself have aged too, and three, that leap when parents go from older to old.

  18. Alsheimers is hard; as you know our family is experiencing it with our Mom. But it's neat to watch Mom still enjoying people singing hymns to her or playing the harp. It's meaningful when sometimes at bed time she says I love you, too, as you kiss her good night. Most times her sentences don't make any sense any more; but every once in a while she breaks through it all. I just posted a few pics from her 80th birthday celebration on my blog as well as on Facebook.

  19. I blogged about O'Hare's toilet self-renewing/revolving toilet seat covers before: They're great for germophobes.

    Ooooh, what are you doing in Costa Rica?!?! I'm sooo jealous!

  20. A heartfelt, poignant post, Sage. I know how it feels to watch a beloved parent age. I just returned from taking my 85-year-old mother shopping. She is much more limited physically than she was even two years ago, but I'm grateful that she is sharp mentally. I can't imagine the ache you must feel for your own mom as she deals with Alzheimer's.