Friday, April 11, 2008

Perfect Storm

I guess the formula is about 2(Th) + d = Mg.

You take the number of people that usually gather in your family for Thanksgiving, multiply it by 2 or 3, add the death that has just occurred, and come up with the memorial gathering.

Just when my house is at its messiest because I have put so much time into accompanying Mom through hospice, I'm going to have all my relatives arrive, eight or ten of whom have never seen my home?

Then there's the sibling rivalry in Mom's generation; the family history and sibling rivalry in my generation with my two brothers and my sister; then the relationships in my kids' generation.

On the one hand, there is the joy of seeing people again with whom you have shared your entire life history. All seven of my female cousins will be together for the first time since 1966--I'm really excited and grateful for that. Three are flying in from Washington state, one flying from Colorado Springs, and one (who still lives in the Cortez/Mancos area where our family lived one hundred years ago) taking Amtrak from Gallup, New Mexico, to Los Angeles.

On the other hand, long-forgotten hurtful words and deeds of many years ago suddenly resurface between siblings and others. I love each of my immediate and extended family members, and I want to spend time with them; they are willing to spend time and money to gather in order to honor my mother's life--but this comes at a time when each of us is most vulnerable, feeling pain. It's a recipe for difficult interactions.

In addition there's a new kind of Russian roulette: guessing which ones of us will be the next to get Lewy Body Dementia. Mom's father and his mother probably had it; some of us in our generation will also get it.

Meanwhile, we go through the craziness of cleaning the house for a big family gathering.

John asks gingerly, "Would you mind if I hired a housecleaner?"

I nod okay though for 32 years I have resisted paying someone else to do work that I should do my self. I don't have much opinion these days. Call it acceptance, call it lethargy. I'm an observer of life only. The gathering will occur and we will celebrate the family ties, whether or not I have a clean house.

I will work with the housekeepers and try to clean everything up, but the storm will arrive and then be over.

"I take shelter in the shadow of your wings until the storm is over." --Psalm 57:1.

1 comment:

terri c said...

Oh, Anne. Please be gentle with yourself in these days. Having a housecleaner is entirely appropriate. Anything that takes pressure off of you is appropriate. Of course the family gathering will be complicated -- they always are -- I will be sending warm thoughts and prayers on Monday. It does seem as if your Mom was ready, as if she had that inner knowing, and having you and your sister with her in prayer was a blessing for you all.