It has been over three months since my last post. So much as happened and yet not much at all. Let’s see if I can back-track.
– In January, Mom was visited by a nurse from Fidelis to do a priority assessment (which is procedure after someone has a prolonged hospital stay.) The assessment was then promptly lost and we were left to try and figure out how to get Mom through her days on the regular schedule of 3 hours with the aide, 6 hours at Bellhaven and 3 hours with the aide again. She did manage to recover her baseline over time, and we started working with a wonderful new afternoon/Saturday aide in January. I also started an internship with a literary agency in NYC 2.5 times a week.
– In February, things began to unravel quickly with the aide services and the day program. Bellhaven was unable to redirect Mom during lunch and that made the afternoons impossible. Mom’s Geriatric Psychiatrist prescribed another half pill of Seroquel around lunch time and that quelled the issue. The aides, however, were not so easily dealt with. The aide Mom has been working with since last March continued to leave early/come late, which is just unacceptable. I understand she has small children, but Dad and I cannot keep trying to fill in her lack of availability – that’s of no help to us! At the end of the month, the aide agency removes the afternoon aide that we really liked (so she could take a full-time case, which we understand is where the money is) and sent us a new person WITHOUT WARNING US. She went to the wrong house and arrived TWO HOURS after Mom came home. Luckily, it was on a day that I was not in the city, so I sent her away when she arrived and promptly called the insurance company to find us a new agency. They did, swiftly, and they were supposed to start up in March.
– March came and with it more drama. The new agency had a problem with the person who was supposed to take on the case and I ended up staying home with Mom for a week and a half. I become so frustrated with dealing with all of this (that I’d SWORN I wasn’t doing anymore) that I sent an email to the literary agency telling them that I’d have to quit. They refused. They’re all so lovely and I am so lucky to have been blessed with them walking into my life at EXACTLY the time I needed some unbiased people to support me in separating myself from this situation. In the end, the agency eventually found us two very nice women who are both closer to Mom’s age so we won’t have to worry about them rushing home to small children. The one in the morning is a little too chatty for 6am, but if she is willing to work with us, she can chat as much as she wants. The afternoon aide is Filipino and acquainted with my best friend’s family, so that puts us at ease.
It is April now and I have a great deal on my plate. I continue to work as EIC of my literary magazine, The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society. I am currently participating in a performance piece for a friend who is obtaining his MFA from the University of Buffalo. I’m also working with a very dear friend on a new storytelling venture of hers that will be going live soon. On top of all of this, the internship will soon be over and it is officially time for me to find full time work and remove myself from my childhood home – once and for all. I see the frustration and fear on my Father’s face when I lock myself away in my room or disappear for hours at a time to the local Starbucks to research job openings and new cities to consider. Between my need to move on and my Uncle’s insistence that he and my Aunt will not last another NY winter, I know my Dad feels he will be left alone with the full responsibility of my mother on his shoulders. But I know he can do it. I have gotten them to a much better, much more secure, much more stable place than they were headed for when I arrived in 2011. And while I would NEVER go back and undo my choice to return to Long Island that November, I know the time has finally come for me to go back out again.
I have recently been reading through my mother’s journals. I am very lucky that she felt so compelled to write all of the time because there are things, maybe even things she wrote without a second thought, that are teaching me so much now. There are things in these pages that I cannot ask her, things she can’t tell me, but here they are written down. At times, she speaks in a voice as though someone besides she would be reading her words, like she knew this is where I would come when I could no longer go to her. Some people might think it unfair to read through these things while she’s still alive. I’m sure if they had no children, my father (who never so much as PEEKED in one of these books in the 40 years they’ve known one another) would burn them upon her death, sending all of her most private thoughts on to the next world with her spirit. But she wrote them down for a reason, and that reason is me.
I envy my mother, as she lost her own mother at 38, and I am not sure we will have another 10 years. Or, if we do, I am not sure what kind of years they will be. Regardless, I am glad to still be learning from her, though the lessons I have gained are from a woman of 40 and not of 61. I hope I am doing right by my mother, doing her proud.
“Our families are diminishing in with each generation. When her grandparents are gone, what will Jordan have?” – Janet B. Rizzieri, April 13th, 1995.
I have you, Mommy. I have you.