Here in Michigan this morning, toggling between the dilemmas and dramas related to two sick parents whose lives are never going back to wellness, and trying to self-manage (badly right now) my unending exhaustion and behindness, everything kinda feels OK in this moment: snow! Big fluffy flakes falling thickly, gently, at a slight angle, and sticking to lampposts, trees, roofs, hats as comforter, as remaker of worlds, if only temporarily! A snow-globe utopia, shaking up my senses in good ways! Meanwhile, I can overhear some nearby guys trading stories about how climate change is devastating the earth, even as one just remarked, “And yet I’m looking forward to the future.”
My brave new pessimistically optimistic snow-bound world.
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I heard my own advice this evening, as I was driving the flat and flattened stretch of mid-Michigan back roads between the nursing home where my father is stuck and the assisted living complex where my mother is staying. “We need a plan; we need to make this sustainable for everyone, even if it’s not bearable for us all; this isn’t a temporary situation.” I’ve been playing the empathetic, competent, direct communicator with my folks this time around, getting them to face facts after what has suddenly become nearly half a year of living day-to-day in their respective illnesses. “I can take reality,” my dad spelled out to me on his alphabet board while breathing via tubes that allow him to stay alive. Maybe it was passing through, yet again, the dead-end small towns with only pizza parlors and saloons as culture that made it click for me. That made me feel reality. This is the desolate, exhausted landscape of what visiting my parents will look like from now on. A suspended state of being, with a lost world behind and a “waiting for Godot” existence ahead for them.
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If you’ve run across this blog post as a reposting somewhere, you can find other blog-musings and more polished essays at Outside the Circle, cbmilstein.wordpress.com. Share, enjoy, and repost — as long as it’s free as in “free beer” and “freedom.”