I spent two weeks in New York. It included lots of time with my father, first in the nursing home that resembled one of the circles of hell, then in an urban ER that was the deepest darkest circle of the Inferno, and finally in a hospital room which comparatively is heaven. He's still there, but getting over what happened in the "home" and will hopefully go to a better one when he is stronger. More about that later.
My mom had chemo with minimal problems. We don't know what the outcome will be yet, but we are hopeful.
My brother wussed out on us for the most part--again, I will write about it later. But his money is paying for a social worker/consultant who is an angel from whatever Heaven you believe in and I think with her help we will manage this a lot better.
The Man and the girls came up for the weekend. We took my mom out for dinner at her favorite Chinese restaurant, spent time with my dad and hung out together. Mom, the Man and I watched one of my favorite movies "Inherit the Wind" with SC one night. JR and I baked my mom a cake which she declared not as good as hers, but I don't think it's that we overbaked ours, it's that she puts her cakes in the freezer!
The Man and I got a large box of Mom's old books from her kindergarten into his car, for the library booksale or to be given to preschools I know. Two other boxes of worn, sad books were dumped.
After the Man and the girls had gone I tossed old videorecordings from the TV and cassette tapes my parents will never use. I boxed up more slides to take home to transfer to computer files, dumped old office supplies. I even smuggled out a small paper cutter I know my parents will never use.
I realized that my mom couldn't use her computer in part because she has trouble seeing what's on the screen so I changed the backdrop and made large icons to take her to Skype (we tried using it with JR), her Hotmail account, and her new grocery account with Peapod.
The Saturday before I left I dropped her at the hospital to be with Dad because my brother was coming and by then I was too angry to see him. Instead I drove into Manhattan along the Hudson River to Fairway. I sat in the sun in the park there. I bought goodies to take home. I drove back up along the West Side highway and blew a kiss to the apartment where Nanay and Tatay and the Man and the rest of my family lived for so many years.
I drove up to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park, a place I have loved all my life--I was born right near the park. I walked on the high pathway along the Hudson River and listened to someone playing guitar on a sunny bench.
And then I went back and got my mother and had one more dinner with her. Next morning, I waited for her grocery delivery. I drove to the hospital and helped her feed my dad ice cream--the first food he'd wanted to eat in days. I kissed him goodbye and told him how much I loved him.
I told my mother the same. I told her that I would be back whenever she needed me. That she should call me when she did. I hope she really heard me.
And I cried as I drove away from them. Across the George Washington Bridge, down the turnpike through New Jersey and Delaware and Maryland and across the Potomac to Virginia.
Home to my house, beautiful to me despite the disastrous state our downstairs is still in. Home to my cats and my flowers and my garden and my very own bed.
And when I saw the Man and the girls all I could do again is cry.