I started this blog with the intention of having a more uniform place to journal. Add a picture here and there. Originally, it was meant for me and family. Once I push that "publish post" button though, it becomes public domain. Honestly, that's okay. I've enjoyed meeting new friends and finding their blogs. The tricky part is that sometimes I feel sucky too. I want to blog about those days too. I don't want my kids to think that life is all gardening and snakes and birds.
By letting family know about my blog, I also fence myself in with blog subjects. Sometimes the sucky days are about them. Catch-22.
I choose to break the cheery cycle this morning. I am not feeling sucky today, but certainly have been the last few days. I found things to write about, but not what was really getting to me. (I must preface this bit with a family primer. Mom married "L", had two kids and divorced. She married my father, "H" and had me. Divorced again. Mom recently remarried "L". He had no contact with my sister and brother once they were divorced because my mom wouldn't let him.)---------------If you've read my first post you know my mom died in February. It sucked in more ways than one. In mid March her husband,"L", got very ill (abdominal aortic aneurysm) and nearly died on a fishing trip. My sister, Jean, had come to town to be with mom when she died. She planned all along to leave when mom died and get on with her life. Then her father (my step-father) had the aneurysm and she stayed. We fully expected he would die. In fact, he came home under hospice care. He's still plugging along thanks to Jean's care. In fact, they're about to close their contract with hospice. Things are looking up enough that Jean made plans to leave. Ah, then he started smoking again and then she really needed to leave. Why should she stay around to care for him if he's just trying to kill himself?
That's where my suckiness comes in for several reasons:
1. I already did the dying father thing with my own father.
2. I did the dying thing with my mother just two months ago.
3. Three people died at my tiny little church within a month (on either side) of my mom dying.
4. What will my responsibility to "L" be once Jean leaves? He was married to my mom for only a year and a half. I don't know him really, but he cared for my mom during her illness and loved her deeply. He is Grandpa to my kids.
5. Lee's parents are nearly 80. They moved near us this year, specifically so we could help care for them as they age. Lee will be a large participant in their care once he retires, but their health care will be mine to do if they were to fail tomorrow.
Can you see why I've been feeling sucky the last few days? I have no active cases of caring or dying right now, but I've had my share recently. The immediate worry is "L" when Jean leaves. What is my responsibility? His health, because of recent choices, mainly smoking, will begin to decline. I am the only person he knows in our town. His son by another marriage is three hours away and he has no intention of moving again to be near that son. He moved here to be with my mom.
My poor sister is between a rock and a hard place. When she leaves, it will be for good reason and I encourage it. Her dad is choosing to buck her care, by smoking. It's his choice, jeez, he's 70. He's not going to quit smoking now. She came to help my mom die. She doesn't even really know her dad, but she's come to love him deeply. He's a good man. She's a good woman, but she's lonely and misses her friends. She really shouldn't have stay around to watch him die by his own hand and lighter. All good reasons for leaving.
"L" has asked to be a part of our extended family. He loves us and we are a part of mom. I think he's a great man and have no problem extending a hand to him. And so, the question remains---what is my responsibility to him? Jean decided she isn't leaving any time soon and has assured me that my responsibility to her dad is zero. I don't feel that way. We talked a long time yesterday and she reiterated that point. I will always feel some obligation to "L". He loved my mom like crazy and is above all else, a good man. I think he deserves to be cared for, I just don't know where I'll fit into that equation when his health fails again.
I've decided to cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now, I just need to get the "here and now" taken care of. He doesn't need my care. Lee's parents are in good health. Breathe, CeeCee, breathe. Serenity Prayer.