Now Hear This

25 Jun

I closed down this blog because I felt like people got the wrong impression.  And I’m going to leave “people” very vague here so forgive me for that.  I was writing Trip Ahoy posts to save all the research I did for our trip to Europe.  When our Mom passed away, Kristin and I lost our trip planner.  We lost the woman who had brought places to life for us.  I always attributed this to her being a frustrated History/English teacher.  But I think it’s that there were never enough knowledge for Mom.  The more she learned, the more she wanted to know.

So faced with creating a European trip for me and my now husband, I realized that I was doing it in her honor.  And a bit for Kristin and Dad, too.  We’d been there 20 years ago, all four of us.  When I would see some of the cities on our itinerary, I would be lucky enough to say that I remembered being there, with them.  I lit a candle in Notre Dame and in St Peter’s in Munich for her.  I talked to her and thanked her for everything from the top of the Duomo in Florence.  And in Paris, I forced the Mister into more museums than he’ll ever forgive me for because I couldn’t imagine skipping the magic of seeing that art again, in person.

Before we traveled I did extensive reading in books, on the internet, in magazines and in anything Rick Steves put in print.  I listened to podcasts on French history, rented “Triumph of the Will” from the library and got my hands on as many documentaries and travel shows as the internet would allow.  I listened to music (mostly Edith Piaf and Django Reinhardt, to be honest) from the cultures and sampled their food, which is always a fun task.  I tried to immerse myself in the topic as deeply as I could for two mains reasons: 1) my mom would not be there to know all these things for me and 2) I was mourning her loss.

Trip Ahoy was an obsession I picked up to cope with the loss of our Mom.  Some interpreted it as me being excited about a trip and not giving a hoot about the two people left reeling in Bismarck.  When we lost Mom, Kristin and Dad had to shore each other up.  Dad had advanced Parkinson’s disease which had quickly gotten worse under the strain of watching the love of his life die in their living room.  Kristin had the twin nightmares of mourning her mother while caring for her ill father.  And she did this while she was deep in the bowels of alcoholism.

So while I cannot blame some for assuming that my chirpy banter on this site was completely opposite to that of a caring daughter and sister, I can say that what I was doing was exactly the opposite.  I was keeping myself afloat while I fought with my own demons of depression, anxiety, loss and the physical distance from those who I couldn’t truly help.  I chose not to sound that way on my blog because having that tone here didn’t make anything better.  It still doesn’t.  This is honestly not the kind of post I like to write but I’m tired of worrying how I’m being perceived.  I can only be the person I am and sometimes that person isn’t enough.

Dad is now in the hospital.  His second stay this month.  He has C Diff and colitis.  He had (and may still have) pleurisy, pneumonia and a hematoma on his liver.  He’s fallen in the last week at the nursing home.  A speech therapist had to feed him his meals because he is a choking risk.  None of us would wish this life for anyone they love.  Though his care will be better in the hospital where an IV drip and perhaps a new and better cocktail of antibiotics will help, he’s still not “home”.  And after three surgeries of my own this year, shuttling back and forth every weekend isn’t something that I can really do and that feels like another cruel twist.  That my own body is preventing me from being there for Dad is hard to choke down.  I don’t feel I’m managing it all that well.

Please know, then, that when I start writing chirpy posts about a trip to Britain that may happen in 2015 that I am doing so for two reasons: 1) because it is how I cope and 2) because Dad would want to go.  If you know Doug Sande then you know that nothing brings a smile to his face quite like saying “we were there”.  I’m going, Dad.  And instead of lighting candles I’m going to talk up people in the pubs and I’m going buy souvenirs that will decorate our house.  I will get my picture taken with a Beefeater and I will learn some new swear words. And you will be with me the whole time like I you are with me here.



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