Monday, April 21, 2014

A Decision Has Been Made

Thanks for the new bike, Grammy!

... I'm spending the summer at my mom's. Calliope will attend a local daycare a few hours a day, as I think it would be terribly hard for her to be torn away from her routine and her "social life." She needs structure and she needs little buddies to play with. It will be hard for me to provide either in MA without structured childcare.

Of course, I need structure and friends, too. I have a couple friends sort of nearby, and family scattered around, and I'm thinking about signing up for something, maybe a [prenatal?] yoga class. Not that I'm much of a yogi, but something to get me out of the house. And we will make a long weekend trip to Vermont to see a friend, and we will take a week in August to go on our second annual camping trip with another SMC and toddler.

And hopefully, having that little face and piping voice around the house will cheer my mom's spirits. She's been taking antibiotics for a possible sinus infection, and sounds totally un-foggy today. Totally like herself, absolutely with it. It's so weird to think that, in essence, she's dying. It's sort of horrible yet slightly cathartic to use that word.

I think I was in denial when my dad was dying, somehow trying to stay in the role of clinician, and his entirely predictable death came as a huge shock. I don't want to experience that again.

I don't think the summer will be fun for me, exactly, but it will be something to feel good about. And if there's any possibility of Calliope remembering her grandmother, this is the way to do it -- lots and lots of mundane time together. Not Disney vacations. Just many meals and bedtime stories and Play Doh sessions.

Right now, it doesn't sound too hard. I can drive to doctor appointments and track medications, if she starts to have trouble with memory, and grocery shop and cook and clean up. And take care of Calliope, too, of course. We've agreed that if she needs physical help with tasks like toileting and bathing, we will hire a nurse's aid, as we did when my dad was dying. She already has a cleaning lady that does laundry as well as house cleaning.

I'll have to tell my summer employer that I need to back out, but I reckon the "mother has a terminal illness" excuse won't burn any bridges.

I never imagined that I would make this choice, and I am still sort of reeling at the idea of it, but I'm surprised to find that I'm starting to embrace it, also. I never thought this middle-child-who-always-lived-the-furthest-away would make this choice. Life is full of surprises


  1. I think this is wonderful, Abby. My brother had been living in China for 3 years, and right at the time he was making decisions about where to attend grad school, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. He decided to do his MS 40 minutes from my mom's house in Florida. She died a year later and he was with her through all (he and his wife living with her at the end). He also was the "farthest, middle" child. I am envious of the time he had with her at the end, and also extremely grateful - she needed family nearby. You will cherish this time.

  2. Sounds like a good decision for all of you. Tough, but I'm sure you won't regret it

  3. You will not regret this decision. Okay in all honesty, there may be moments you do, but in the long run, you will be forever grateful for this time with your mom.

  4. It's a tough choice, but I think that you will be glad to have this time with her. Sending you all the best thoughts.

  5. I couldn't agree with Tiara, above, more. You may have moments when you question this decision, in the moment, but in the long run, you'll SO cherish the time you spend with your mom this summer.

    And, Jordyn and I live close by, and we'd love to have you guys over, or drop off a pizza sometime, or whatever we can do to help. We'll have just moved in mid-June-ish, so we'll be busy, but we always have time for friends, and especially to help a friend in need.

  6. Oh, and also, sometimes the local SMC group here has picnics and things in the summer, and you'd be more than welcome to join in for those!