Mar. 10th, 2017

agoodwinsmith: (Little Seagull)
Things are currently amorphous.  Undifferentiated.  Blending one to another randomly.

So.  I retired.  I realize now that I wasn't ready in terms of my work.  I was ready in terms of not having all my time used for the purpose of my work, but I wasn't ready in terms of never doing my work again.  Also, I have lost my desk.  I don't have a desk at home, and since we are in the throes of preparing to move to Salmon Arm when the right place becomes available, I am not going to get a desk for a while.  I need a desk to work through things.  I can't work through things with papers spread out on my lap on the couch - for one thing: the cat keeps wanting to sit wherever I have put the papers.  Yay cat.

So.  Good news about my Mom's cancer:  the chemo therapy seems to have done its job, and there are no longer abnormalities showing in the lymph nodes of the body core.  Unqualified Yay!  Especially since the medical team had been concerned about a compromised lymph node between the kidneys.  However, Mom is now in the radiation therapy part, which is every day, five days a week, for five weeks.  That's a pretty exhausting schedule, but it is done in Kelowna, which is a two hour drive each way from Salmon Arm.  The roads in the Okanagan/Shuswap are severely overburdened with traffic, and people are absolutely insane on them - passing on a blind corner over a double line on the pin kink hanging over a cliff is a run-of-the-mill occurance.  And there has been incessant snow, with the temperature ranging between plus 2 and minus 2, so that it is often both sloppy and icy.  So, currently the biggest exhaustion for Mom regarding the radiation therapy is the drive there and back each day.  Dad is also getting tired, and he is already worn down with worry for Mom.  However, as Mom says: 7 sessions down, only 18 to go.

And: we have been broadsided by something that still has me completely dumbfounded.  My SOGP's older brother has died.  This was completely unexpected.  Granted, he was 71, but his Mom is still going strong at 96, his father lived to 84, other ancestoral beings all lived to 80s and 90s - and he was the most clean living person ever.  No drinking, smoking, drugging; no coffee, tea, junk food.  Lean and whipcord strong.  Careful selection of personal care products (avoiding obscure chemicals).  Never owned a car - walked everywhere.  Strong as a horse with excellent stamina.  The death is natural causes, probably heart or aneurysm.  There won't be an autopsy since 71 is an age for a natural death, so the precise cause won't be definitively known, but I suspect that even if we had a tidy name with a tidy cause - we still would not believe that he is really gone.

The loss of him is having repercussions for his Mom.  After SOGP's father's death, his older brother took on watching over their mother.  In the beginning it was very small stuff - changing a high lightbulb sort of thing - but in the ten year's since SOGP's father's death, his older brother has become more central to her day-to-day life.  In a very light-handed unobtrusive way he made it so she did not need to think about whether or not she could continue to live on her own in her own home.  I mean: she is not an idiot, so she is fully aware that his help made things smoother, but it was all just people enjoying doing things together, and not one person making noble sacrifices for the other person's benefit.

The big issue is: aside from the heavy blow of having lost one of her children, even if she is able to stay in her home and care for herself - she is going to be so lonely.  The place where she lives is a coop, with a strata council, and a central shared room where they hold regular potlucks and other social events.  But most of the couples who were there when she and SOGP's Dad moved in (they were part of the wave of original tenants) are now gone, and new couples with new ideas are there.  People are perfectly friendly - but it is not the same as visiting with your friends.

So.  None of us yet know how to be usefully supportive to her.  We too have all relied on the oldest brother taking her under his wing.

These things will all get sorted out, and better times are coming, but right now I feel a little like one of those old-fashioned wind-up toys, where, if they are overwound, just sit there vibrating impotently.  I haven't achieved sad, yet; I'm still in nonplussed.

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agoodwinsmith

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