Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

On Aging Parents and Other Things: Part Eight

Hello again.

Here’s a thing to remember if you ever find yourself trying to save someone. Do what you can. Push as hard as you can. And then step the fuck back. Please, for the love of love.

I’ve learned a lot of things over the past few weeks. I’m sure I will write more about them later. But all is well for now.

Married people fight. Then they make up. Just like sisters and moms and daughters do.


My mom is staying with my sister Carolina now. I have to stop thinking I can do everything on my own. All of us need a little help from our friends and family.

People are helping now. Because I am letting them help. Mom will be okay eventually. 

I’m an editor, a writer, a sister, a wife, a tall lady. And a lot of other things. But I’m not a doctor.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On Aging Parents and Other Things: Part Seven

July 17, 2014
Real-time update from today:
My mom and I are fighting. I refuse to let her moldy clothes and sheets infect the rest of the house. I’m not going to take this shit any more.

Christopher just yelled at me about money again. We have everything we need. He can’t seem to see that.


June 12, 2014
The medicine is making my mom drowsy this morning. She decided to take a thirty-minute nap.

When I went to wake her up, she yelled, with such an evil force, “Get out of here!”

I don’t know who that was, but that wasn’t my mom yelling those words.

“Mom, I told you I would come wake you up. It’s me.” Pause. “It’s not good for you to yell like that.”

“I know. I know. I thought you were him.”


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On Aging Parents: Part Six

Here are two entries from June 11. Thanks for reading, y'all.

June 11, 2014 (A little later, drinking that glass of wine now)

I prayed with my mom tonight before she went to bed. She said, “All these years, and I can’t believe now one of my daughters wants to pray with me.”

We read some prayers in Italian that I only half understood, and a few others, including some from my childhood that I still have memorized, like The Lord’s Prayer. Slammed that one out of the park.

I let it break earlier that I get tension in my chest when I come down to visit them. I was trying to get her to hear me. To convince her to leave tomorrow like we had planned instead of the next day. It’s all too much sometimes. Here’s my pain; here’s how I know how to fix it. Please.

These dams are crumbling. I can’t stop now that I see the truth: two very lonely people that I love are stuck in limbo, wanting someone to draw them out of it. They have lost the words you use to ask for help.


I’m going to try to make that someone me. But what I realized today is that I need to do it slowly, or, you know, chest pain. Hence the trip to HEB to get Half Baked ice cream and the most expensive bottle of Italian red wine available. I kind of wish I had a Harry Potter movie on DVD with me. Comfort is underrated.

June 11, 2014 (At night)



So my mom’s bathroom is hotter than the rest of the house. Verging on sauna hot. And after being here for twenty-four hours, I finally asked my dad about it.

(This is not the first time we’ve gotten a “hot” room. My dad likes to close off vents to certain rooms in the house to make it colder in the main rooms. This cooling theory has yet to be proven as something that actually works in any way whatsoever.)

And he goes from zero to five thousand in two seconds. He immediately gets huffy and denies ever going in that room. Ever. Going. In. That. Room. How should he know?

How should he know? He’s the only former electrician/handyman living in this house. How could he not know?

The fight escalates. It’s having him, but it’s not having me. Well, maybe just a little bit. But what I do know is that I felt like truth was on my side. Who acts cagey to a question like, “Why is the bathroom so hot?”

He says it’s always been that way.

“It has not. I used to live here, remember?”

“Of course I remember.”

“I don’t think you do.”

“You want to have a fight?!”

“Do I want to have a fight? This fight is so much bigger than what we are talking about right now. And you know it. Do you want to have this fight?”

“I’m just annoyed. Everyone is always asking me about why the bathroom is so damn hot, and I don’t know. One hundred people have asked me about that hot bathroom.”

“So you’re mad at all the other people in your life that have annoyed you right now? Because I just asked you a simple question. It did not require an argument. All you had to do was answer. Right now, I was asking you a question. One question. From one person. Not a hundred people asking you a question at once. I don’t deserve for you to be mad at me.”

He’s always stuck in the past somewhere too. I wonder if he ever sees any younger versions of my mom there. Probably not. Just different unhappy versions of himself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On Aging Parents: Part Five

Real-time update: My mother is doing much better, y'all. The signs of dementia were actually due to a pretty bad mold problem that was found at my parents' house. (Which also explains the lung infection I got a couple of month ago and why my nephews have also been getting sick when they visit down there.)


Mom, late June 2014, Austin, Texas
Channeling a little bit of Justin Timberlake's look
So cute

Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.

June 11, 2014
One of the last times I came to visit my parents, Chris, my mom, and I were going to the mall to furniture shop. I had just turned my car into the parking lot, and my mom kept going on and on about negative things—about my dad, about her regrets, about unforgiveness. I kept telling her to stop, and she refused. It was as if she couldn’t hear me, or anything else, outside herself.

I almost fainted while I was driving. Thankfully, I was only going about five miles an hour since we were looking for a place to park. I’m a pro fainter at this point in my life and can tell, in the moments leading up to a big blackout, that all things must halt or I’m going to look like a major dolt.

I immediately pulled over when I realized what was happening.

We decided to abandon our shopping and head home.

Later, when I was resting in the back room, my mom came in, convinced that I was pregnant. “I’m not pregnant,” I said. “That was something else.”

(Image via Sabrina Ogle)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Modern-Day Revisions: 8: Sundry


Eight is great, y'all.


On Aging Parents: Part Four

Part of a continuing series, y'all. Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

June 11, 2014 

Yay! The cataract surgery is over. I’m relieved and filled with gratitude.

I tried to focus on my breathing when I got nervous in the waiting room. I was reading Cooked by Michael Pollan (which is great so far), but my attention kept wandering.

The nurses were all very nice. I got a strong energy from the eye doctor.

I got called back to see my mom after they got her ready. When I first walked through the blue curtain, I felt a wave of fear. (Is there a better way to say that?) She was hooked up to an IV and had a surgical cap on. It was all so medical and technical.

But then I looked into my mom’s eyes—she’s so beautiful—and I felt my calm return.

Mom (June 2013)

The surgery was quick. The nurse called my name, and I followed her back to my mom, who looked overjoyed, drinking her coffee in a cushioned chair with some animal crackers in a cup on her lap. Finally. All she wanted all morning was her coffee, and now that moment was here.

She started bragging about me to the nurses—all my trophies and scholarships. Me: “Mom, you’re embarrassing me.” And then all the nurses laughed, that communal daughters-of-the-world laugh.

We’re home now and I’m working in the dining room. We called my sister Sabrina earlier to let her know everything was okay.


Just before my mom got off the phone with Sabrina, she said, “If you have faith, everything will be fine.”

(Photo by Sabrina Ogle)
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