Monday, July 12, 2010

Hot Fudge Sundae Gives Me Courage

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to visit my parents. I try to drop by at their adult family home at least three times a week but I rarely stay longer than an hour. There's so little to say after the usual pleasantries. We end up sitting there, staring at each other with me racking my brain for topics of conversation.  Dad's hearing without functional hearing aids is terrible and Mom is off in her own world most of the time, struggling to get the words out. When my siblings visit from out-of-town, they stay for hours; I don't know how they can, but they do. I guess their time is a sprint and mine a marathon, or some such.

I've often heard my sister say she treats herself to something special after she's spent a chunk of time with Mom and Dad; a trip to the the yarn store or a slow browse through a bookstore. I get that. Today, I indulged in a treat before my arrival. The endorphins brought a sense of calm to my mind and the price couldn't be beat. McDonald's dollar menu rocks.

Mom was asleep when I arrived so Dad and I had a chance to talk (well, I was yelling and he was talking since his hearing aids are on the fritz) in the back room. When Mom woke up, the caregiver escorted her back to the sitting room where Dad and I were hanging out. The conversation changed to her worries and concerns. Whereas the dreamy musings tend to fizzle out quickly, this particular fantasy was pernicious and anxiety provoking for her.

"Jimmy Hodnett is here and I've got to go out to the kitchen to talk with him."

"He's not here, Mom. Who is he anyway?"

"He's my husband and he's picking me up."

"No Mom, Dad here is your husband; you've been married 69 years. Look at him sitting in the chair next to you."

A quizzical look crossed her face and then her eyes returned to their prior slightly agitated, expectant state.

"Don't talk to loud. He'll hear you. Let's get up and go meet him in the living room."

At that point I suggested to my Dad that he might want to take a nap and I'd keep Mom company out in the  living room. Fortunately, he hadn't heard a word of what Mom had said (glad the hearing aids were dead) and agreed to stretch out on his bed for a bit.

Mom and I shuffled into the living room, sat down at the round table and had a cup of tea. She forgot all about Jimmy Hodnett and lost herself  in talking to "Willow" the dog, a frequent visitor to the house.

As for me, the beneficial effects of the hot fudge sundae were wearing thin by then so I said my goodbyes and headed home.  I'll have think up another treat for tomorrow's visit.

1 comment:

  1. Kate -- This breaks my heart, since it's so familiar to me. You can do only as much as you can do. I know how tough it is.


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