My Mom is dying.
This post is mostly about me and my life, but the things I want to say are triggered by recent events in my Mother’s life. So I start with a brief synopsis of what’s happening with her, then I’ll move on to how and why it’s likely to cause major, as yet partially unknown, changes in my life.
My Mom is dying. We all die. For years now, Mom has been slowly losing her intellect. It’s been mostly gone for the last two years, yet her health remained, to quote her doctor from about 2 years ago:
She’s in remarkably good physical shape for an 85 year old ex smoker who has avoided exercise like the plague.
I’ve long expected that she would die as most frail older folks do: from progressive multisystem failure triggered by some sort of “insult”. In this case, the “insult” is an infection that is presumably pneumonia – which her immune system is NOT fighting and for which we’ve had to withdraw antibiotics when her kidneys slowed to a trickle, building up the antibiotic levels in her blood to near toxic levels. We did try, for a few days, to give her IV fluids to help her kidneys, but critical lab values did NOT get better with that, and the second time she tore out the IV line, we elected not to try again.
She is resting comfortably, with moments of (for her) lucidity. We are only feeding her if she asks. And we are in a Hospice program, which is providing critical emotional and logistical support. She is expected to pass in 7-14 days. But nothing is certain.
All good thoughts and prayers are welcome from this Atheist in the spirit of good will. However, be warned! Once she passes, do NOT say to me that she is “in a better place” or other similar thoughts. It will not comfort me, and it WILL anger me. When she passes, I believe she will live on only in the thoughts and feelings of those who knew and loved her.
Which brings me to how this affects MY life.
Until she passes, I’ve cut my work hours to 5 hours/day to give me time to be with her and to start getting her affairs in order.
Once she passes, thankfully (for me), my sister and I have agreed to delay any memorial/remembrance until my sister is back from her sabbatical in Sweden next June. So with all the OTHER things I’ll have to do as the Trustee of her Living Trust, arranging a remembrance on short notice will NOT be one of them.
I expect that closing out Mom’s affairs – with the exception of her condo – will take 1-2 months during which time I’ll work a bit more, but not (quite) back to full time. Her condo is on a lease which expires at the end of January, 2013. And it’s FAR less of a headache to sell a condo that isn’t occupied by someone on a long term lease, so that will wait until February. Sometime, likely in January, I’ll be back to work full time. But what will I be coming back to?
For at least four years (at least), I’ve been stalled at work. I work for a small company at which I’ve already reached the highest level I can reasonably expect given the size of the company. I’ve not been challenged in over two years, and being challenged is very important to me. So why have I held on? Partially, it’s been due to the fact that HAVING a job in the ongoing recession is vastly preferable to NOT having a job. But mostly? I consciously put growth in my life on “hold” to allow myself to focus on giving Mom “Moments of Joy”. Well, those will end soon, and I thank Mom profusely for arranging her own affairs – and I mean financial affairs – so well that I will have the freedom to take my own sabbatical to figure out what next to do with my life!
And it’s likely enough that my answer will NOT include continuing my present employment that I’ve already given tentative notice to the owner of my company. He and I have become friends, and he has long been aware of how frustrated I was and why I chose to remain.
And socially? Stalled as well. I’ve never been good at making close friends, and I really have only 3 remaining nearby – who I almost never see, but I’m sure all would welcome me. The four of us were almost inseparable until, one by one, the other 3 got married and two of them had kids. It’s hard to maintain close friendships with married people if you are single, and I haven’t risen to the challenge.
I’ve recently tried to find like minded people my age through local Atheist and Skeptic groups, but haven’t really connected.
Where I HAVE connected is Twitter! But that’s a large part of my NEXT post, so I won’t detail it here.
Right now, I have plans to visit my sister and her family in Sweden at the beginning of April, 2013. And that will mark the beginning of my sabbatical (which you could also call my LATE midlife crisis – since I’ve already had an EARLY midlife crisis in 1996-7). What will I do? For that, I’ll have to refer you to my NEXT blog post – My Probable Peregrination. I’ve got a video chat scheduled with my closest cousin in 20 minutes, so I’m going to stop here, and do the next post after we’re done. I WILL link to it here as soon as it is published!
Next post soon…
UPDATE: Next post DONE! See My Probable Peregrination