Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thoughts this morning

My mom and my niece will arrive at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.  I will be thrilled to have my mom back in New York, but scared, too. Her heart will be heavy when she sees her sister, who at almost 93, can no longer move a single limb of her body, and has to be hoisted by a medical contraption. My aunt can no longer speak most of the time, and yet last night, when the home attendant found her wide awake at 4 a.m., and tried to coax her back to sleep, she said clearly, "I want to be awake when Gloria gets here."

My mom is several days away from getting here. My aunt has her time frames confused. But when I heard this, I was pierced once more by the devotion of the sisters to one another. I am glad my mom is coming to see her big sister. But she's 89, and is also declining. It's more clear now than it used to be. She too is starting to be confused by time, and to not remember things. She gets anxious easily, because she is so used to being able to control what happens for herself, and now she can't.

I don't think she can stay alone in her little studio, although she is insisting that she can. I think she needs to stay in our home, sleeping here at night, with family life flowing around her, and then she can eat dinner with us and I can help her bathe before bed and make her breakfast in the morning before work. I can then walk her back to her apartment, which is in the same building as my aunt, and they can visit together while we are at work and school. I hope the home attendant will agree to give my mother lunch along with my aunt, as my mom can't manage that on her own anymore. I really scared about how she will manage this time. It's all mixed in with the excitement at seeing her in just five days.

My son will be home for a hot minute this Thursday. One of his best friends is having an end of summer barbeque and many members of their high school track team will be there, all of them now scattered to different colleges, so he's taking the train to New York just for the day to attend. We'll see him when he stops home to shower. And then maybe again that night, before he catches the train back for the last two days of camp. Then he and his girlfriend will arrive home from camp on Sunday and will be with us for most of next week. Meanwhile my husband and I will make the drive up to pick up our girl on Saturday. My daughter loves her brother's girlfriend. Loves her. She says whenever they see each other at camp they jump into each other's arms and twirl around.

Okay, got to get to work. I've been getting home well into the evening since our new managing editor arrived. Even thought the spirit of the place is much lighter than it has been the last five years, we're too few people left on staff. We need more hands to execute our new editor-in chief's vision. These late evenings can't continue. Last night I got home at 11 p.m. and then stayed up till 3 a.m. just to feel as if I had some part of the day that was mine. We close the current issue tomorrow and after that, I'm going to have to be a little more judicious about my workload. Especially with my mom here and my daughter needing to visit colleges and figure out exactly where she plans to apply.


  1. Wow. You have a lot on your plate. I hope you have time to enjoy your mom's visit. As hard as it must be to see your parents decline with age, I would give anything to have my mother back with me. She passed at 67 of a sudden heart attack. My father had died that year (68) and it broke her heart....AND the excitement (stess) of college shopping.....Your energy amazes me! xox

  2. I'm afraid I don't see you resting for several more weeks. You have a crazy schedule ahead of you. Just remember to breathe every now and then.
    Your Friend, m.

  3. So many emotions in this post.
    It's never easy seeing our loved ones age.
    But then, on a happier note, you get to hang out with your children for awhile! Wishing you the best in all situations, my friend.
    Sending love. ~

  4. You've a lot on your plate, but I'm filled with admiration for how you've planned this caring for your mother and her sister. The image of the two of them together fills my heart.

    Good luck with it all and keep us posted!

  5. Angella, I love reading about your family, it's connectedness and shimmery goodness. I wish I knew what that was like. I feel the stickery pain with your children rushing in and out though. I know that one and it means you have done so well with them. Also I hear you're being overworked on top of it. Gah. Stay healthy my friend.

  6. you plan for your mom sounds perfect....hopefully she will see the sense & practicality.

    still crossing my fingers that a visit to oberlin is in store!


  7. wow you have so much going on! It's hard seeing one's mother decline - she was always the one that was strong for you and now you have to take care of her. It's lovely that the sisters will be together though. I think your idea of your mom splitting her time between your and her place is very logical - I hope she agrees.

    Glad to hear things are better at work with the new ed. I hope you're able to find a better balance between work and home - much easier said than done, I know.

  8. I understand that piercing feeling all too well.

    It'll be good for you and your mother and your aunt to be together again soon.

    One of these days we are going to meet in person, my almost-sister Angella, and it'll take me an hour to give you all the hugs I've imagined giving you over the years. :)

  9. You have so much going on right now, but so much of what fills your days and your thoughts is pure love. It is beautiful to read about, I can only imagine what it must feel like in person.
    I hope the best for the sisters' visit - the thought of your aunt, awake in the middle of the night, days in advance, so excited to see your mom - it makes my heart ache, as I'm sure it does yours. Hoping for safe travels and happy reunions for everyone. Thanks again for sharing the loveliness with us.
    Hopefully that crazy work schedule will end before it takes a toll on you.

  10. I read this post breathlessly, my mother will turn 87 in two days and though she is doing so well I can see the inevitable ahead and it hurts. You said it here. Thank you.

  11. Wow, you DO have a busy schedule. It's so hard to see parents and other relatives get older. My parents are in their early 70s -- still relatively youthful, but I have noticed lots of changes. Hope your mom's visit goes well and you get to visit with your son for more than a "hot minute"!

  12. I have a feeling that no matter how hard you think it'll be, it won't be as much for them.
    My grandmother and her first cousin who grew up together understood old age and everything that came with it, and all that mattered to them was to be together. My heart is very sad for my great-aunt now that she's lost her confidante.
    Please let us know how they are, and know that you and yours are in my daily prayers!