Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanks in Giving

And it's change that moves us. Things change and evolve. Slowly but definitely.

It isn't about the effort. I can do this and I am committed to it. I do it for a few days, but nothing compared to what those who are here commit to. My effort is token. A small relief to the constantly under fire.

I just went to help Mama. She had been sleep-talking and then suddenly she was calling out David's name. I burst into her room to find her half-off the bed. She had somehow knocked over the objects on the top of her night-stand and sort of propped herself against them.

“Did you take the cotton sheets,and wash them, and I'm pretty sure Myrtle...I think I'm going to take them.” She was just talking in her sleep right now. Last night it was heavy breathing. Tonight it's quiet except for bursts of sleep-talk and coughing. The coughing; it's worse than nails on a chalkboard.

I picked her up to help her adjust on the pillows. She was half in and out of sleep; her sentences were almost nonsensical. And it would be funny if she weren't bone thin. I talked to her for a few minutes until she calmed down enough to sleep. Kerry the cat came in and patiently stays with her.

“Are you all right Mama?” I asked after lifting her and trying to readjust her.

“Ok, thank you,” she replied.

“Goodnight. I love you,” I tucked her in and left the room. This is where our family is now.

This is where our family is now. Marian's house is slowly emptying. The contents of a lifetime, shuttled away in boxes and given back to the family. I feel so lost right now. There is so much joy in the family. And so much gravity.

I visited Marian today in her assisted living home. She was cranky. The phone wasn't right. “Why's he here?”

“He was with us and had to come,” Leslie rushed to defend me.

“I'm sorry Marian. Do you want me to leave?” I asked her sincerely and respectfully. She sat on the bed, her round bald head made her look a little like an angry Buddha. She scowled, impetuous and slightly vacant. Thoughts came like fragments of shipwrecks washed onto shore.

“No. You can stay,” Marian said. I always detected in her a softness. Her statements are harsh and her demeanor pointed but it's about the right push back. You find the chink in her armor and she lets her soft side through for a moment; just enough to let you know it's an act She never intended that I leave. She doesn't care about how good the phone is. And she certainly doesn't care about which clock sits above her television.

Her gifts were always the most exciting at Christmas. Big boxes wrapped in newspaper. Always a sweet note and a warm hug to accompany it all. And I don't know if she ever knew how much I cherished that moment. More than the gift. It was the surprise behind the big newspaper box with one of the cousin's names written in sharpie on it. It was the guarantee that she would smile her brightest when we lit up at the things she gave.

Ate at a hipster diner on the east side.

I tried to fix a pocket watch. I broke it instead. But it's shiny now. I'm stuck in my body and it's weak and finite.