“Into each life some rain must fall
But too much is falling in mine
Into each heart some tears must fall
But some day the sun will shine”
And then there are the good times. When everything is going smoothly. No falls. No strokes. No funerals. No deaths. Your geezer is holding his own, and all is well at The Home.
That’s where we find ourselves at the moment. On the heels of back-to-back successful sibling visits, featuring a Father/Son Father’s Day and a pizza party in the dining room, sponsored by my sister and her sweet hubs. Pizza is a big deal for geezers, because it’s salty and greasy and not on the regular menu. Think of taking your kids to Chuck E. Cheese’s (yeah, I didn’t know it was spelled that way either. Google it.) for a birthday party. That’s the level of geriatric excitement you get over Domino’s at Shannondale. Doodaddy loves pepperoni.
So I’ve faded to the background for a couple of weeks, first to the beach and then letting my sibs take the lead. Sister Keeling apparently cleaned out our mother’s closet and drawers and sent things to Goodwill. I’m usually good at purging clutter, but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of Gmamma’s belongings, not even her walker, standing idly by. But Keeling did it.
Sometimes, it’s as though we are three only children, interacting best with our father one on one. That way there’s no competition, no regression to adolescent grievances, no jockeying for position. And the last time we were all three together, it was to care for our mother in her last week of life. The tension was high. She was suffering mightily, and we were united in our efforts to ease her pain and smother her with love. Our father was holding up as best he could, but it was more than he could bear. So tempers flared. Chips on shoulders became boulders.
I had to be the glue, the peacemaker, the surrogate parent to my younger brother and my older sister, who long ago abdicated her rightful role as first born.
Now that the immediate crisis of our mother’s passing is over, we’ve settled into the new normal. There’s a constant heartache but also a sense of peace. And the three of us have redoubled efforts to shower our father with love.
I’m savoring the moment. Hitting the pause button on drama. Watching the gathering clouds from a distance and waiting for the rain.