Tuesday, August 19, 2008


stream of consciousness
(james joyce would be snorting milk out his nose)

my dad has turned into one of those old men who has his pants belted just under his nipples
he is skinny, even skinnier than i am, even though he used to be taller and is no longer
he wore a long sleeved shirt, even though it was 80 degrees (Fahrenheit)
his hands are covered with purple welts from the coumadin

i can't see his arms, which is the purpose of the long sleeved shirt
he no longer has the grace of movement he possessed as a younger man
he has a scratch across his nose from banging into something with his glasses on
my mother mutters things quietly, even though she knows he is almost deaf

my daughter is one hell of a good sport and sticks around the table even though we are boring as hell
i have told her beforehand that she needs to be here as they are here to say goodbye to her
they drink like fish
i feel like drinking like a fish
they leave early because of a show they need to watch on PBS

i watch them drive up the driveway and wonder how long they will still be able to drive here
that they can drive here makes it easier for me

i wonder how long it will be easy
it's easier for me if it's easy
i know it will be hard when it's not easy


Em writes a thank you note for the present


Cheesy said...

meno.. I have found if I think of my mommers as a child I deal with the troubling parts easier. But I also try to remember she is a woman first- she has needs to be remembered as such also. Thats the hard part. I lost dad a few years back so now I only have to try and be good to her.
It is so hard to watch your parents fade... It is a part of life I am not good at either. I try and thats all we can ask of ourselves. Em is a good girl! Grandmas like ty's!

Maddy said...

Ah so you're in the sandwich generation too. I didn't think I'd be 'here' quite so soon. Hope you're faring better than I am.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

The last thing you need is another worry--but I don't think that the purple welts on the hands are a normal Coumadin effect. And isn't alcohol something that interferes badly with Coumadin?
With great sympathy, because none of this is easy.

capacious said...

Oy lokaloy. That's what I say.

Sometimes I'm sorry my mother died, sometimes I'm not. Count this as a time I'm not.

Just let me have with my sons the relationship you have with your daughter.

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

I loved this.

Bob said...

my parents are in their mid-to-late sixties, but I dread when they get to where yours are.

my heart reaches out to you, I know tough times are coming. I'm sorry.

Vanessa said...

I'm sorry. Family can be hard. Things don't make sense like they should when the parents are dysfunctional. The kids have a hard time making sense out of what is left no matter how old they get. I hope it stays easier for you for as long as possible.

Mrs. Chili said...

Yeah, we're looking down the barrel of that, too. Ugh, indeed.

Anonymous said...

know what really sucks? the knowledge ~that comes only with age~ that one day, we, too will be old and feeble. it was one thing with the grandparents, then the parents caught it, and knowing that we're next...man, that sucks.

I need a cold one now, is it too early?

furiousBall said...

my mother has addison's disease and is on coumadin too. she's had adrenal failure crisis a number of times, those visits to the ER. i want a better life for her.

Mamalujo said...

I love that you post so fearlessly. I hope some of it will rub off on me.

Marshamlow said...

I get the feeling this means Em is leaving soon. Yikes.

When I was growing up I felt that holidays were about us going through the motions. I never felt that sense of I want to do something nice or that my parents wanted to make a holiday special for me. It was all going through the motions because that is what you do. I got that sense from your post.

Gordo said...

Coumadin is amazing stuff. Whoever would have thought that there would be a therapeutic human dose of rat poison? :-)

Clowncar said...

Wow. Reading that was like watching a hammer hit a nail right on the head. You caught that perfectly.

Sounds like many of your readers are going through a similar situation. I know I am.

fiwa said...

Ugh. I know how you are feeling.

meno said...

cheesy, i know it's a part of life, but i still don't like it. :(

maddy, i must say that i have it way better than many, as my parents are moving themselves into a retirement/assisted living place. Better than me having to drag them kicking and screaming. I'm sorry you have it rough.

pat, i should do some research about that. Thanks for the tip.

anne, i think you will.

mrs 4444, thank you. :)

bob, hopefully you have a ways to go. Enjoy them while you can.

vanessa, thank you for the sympathy.

mrs. chili, i'm sorry. It sucks.

holly, that's the creepiest part, the knowledge that i'm next. Got a few good years left in me though!

furious, that's an unpleasant disease. And no real cure. Sad.

mamalujo, sometimes it's hard for me to tell the difference between fearless and whiny.

marsha, yes, we are flying off early saturday am. Going through the motions pretty much sums it up.

gordo, lots af medicines are poison with a different name.

clowncar, it's no fun is it? And how much worse to BE the aging one who is losing abilities. I am afraid.

fiwa, courage girl!

QT said...

Wow. I was able to visualize it all perfectly.

Mine aren't even close to this yet, but I dread the day when they are no longer able to drive themselves places.

Em's a good egg.

Karen Jacobs said...

Arg! I'm imagining something like that being written about us ('us' being the old man and me) one day... one day waaaay too soon!

tt said...

I'm so with you here. Unfortunately....
It just doesn't get any easier...

Rosie said...

those last years are hard. my parents are gone now..and that was hard too.
But then something wonderful happens. All the memories of them merge together and you remember the whole person, in their prime...and not what they became at the end

flutter said...

isn't that kid of yours great?

Franki said...

getting old is not fun...for anyone is it?

Nancy Dancehall said...

No no, not milk. Whiskey.

I dread the day. My mom is terrified that she'll get Alzheimer's (runs in the family, gulp) and tells me just to put her in a home, no matter what she screams when the time comes.

My folks live about 1000 miles away, and it is difficult every time I see them, because I notice every new wrinkle and spot and bizarre new old-person behavior. I worry about what my responsibilities will be, and I feel guilty that I moved so far away and have missed so many years with them.

I hate time.

Dick said...

I guess we are now the oldest generation since all four of our parents are gone. I hope we will be some of those lucky ones who live independently right up to the end, then die in their sleep, but we don't get to pick our way out. I'd say enjoy your parents as best you can while you still can. The time will come when you can't.

Anonymous said...

Families are tough.

Getting old is tough.

If I had any answers I'd write a freaking book. Sorry Meno, I got nothing. Take care of yourself though.

Brad said...

It's tough watching parents get older. I see what my slightly older friends go through with thiers. Maybe it's time to start up a support group. Eek.

Mona Buonanotte said...

You should write like this more often, as it is exactly how my thought processes work, and it's easily digestible...like sweet fruity yogurt.

caro said...

Been there and you sooo nailed it. You've got lots on your plate these days it seems. Wish I could send over Gerard Butler with a care package delivery. Forget the care package. He's plenty 'nuff. Have a great day Meno.

sari said...

it seems like you write easily of something that is not easy. i love the way you write, even if it's not a lovely subject.

i don't like to think of the day long ahead when I will see this.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Ahhhh my parents are getting old, and whenever I think of them, and losing them someday in the future, I just cry and cry and cry.

patches said...

Reporting after a 24 hour layover from the Land of Ugh....

I've read enough stories about your mom to know the good left, is tolerable at best. Enjoy what crumbs of tolerableness remain, and may you never find yourself amidst the decay.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I feel bad for my children in advance and wonder if I'll recognize that I have reached an age that is hard for them to witness.

Your parents drink like fish and then drive? Yikes. I'm so sorry.

lu said...

It must me that much more difficult when your relationship with them is strained.

Irrelephant said...

I don't even know what to say, meno. I know it's tough, it's always tough. I think we're supposed to draw from this that we need to appreciate every second with our folks and our friends, but it's too easy to overlook, isn't it? We take things for granted, and the last curtain call comes for us all, sooner or later.

Brava for having the strength to post such a deeply personal thing. .big hug.

Daisy said...

My dad is fading away. My mother seems to be imploding in on herself.

Me -- I just want to dissolve into little particles of light that float up into the air. Kind of like the complete opposite of fireworks.

Maggie said...

Godzooks I love you.

(that's not just because you praised me in the comments of the last post, but it might have influenced me a little).

"his pants belted just under his nipples"

"i know it will be hard when it's not easy"

---you just make me smile and on a side note: thank God for PBS shows eh?

meno said...

qt, it sort of sneaks up on you, little by little.

karen, nice to hear from you! Yes, i see old age advancing on me in the rear view mirror too.

tt, i don't know how you do what you do everyday. You're a hero.

rosie, i'm glad to hear that. I hope so.

flutter, you know i won't argue with you on that one.

franki, no, not fun. I think even less so for them though.

nancy, whiskey works for me.

dick, i hope to die as my neighbor did, out on his daily walk, he just keeled over and died, with no preceding sickness.

deb, you have no answers because there really are no answers.

brad, good idea. Will there be wine?

mona, i'm glad you like it.

caro, Mmmmm. Gerard. Yep, that would cheer me up.

sari, i think it's because i am an observer of the world. I just have to recount back my mental inages.

mother hen, i wonder sometimes how i will feel. Should be interesting.

patches, that's quite a story you told about your trip to ughville.

hearts, they seem to tolerate it well, but it still scares the hell out of me.

lu, it's hard to act like a loving daughter. I try to at least act interested. Hopefully that's good enough.

irrelephant, thanks for the hug. You seem like a huggable person.

maggie, love you too! (sucking up is not beneath me.)

I'm scrawlwrite said...

i think when they don't drive it will be easier because you will be in control of the visits. Just that fact will go a long way to making the visits better.