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December 17, 2012

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Kristen

This is an excellent bit. I felt every line of it. It was on the phone that I first truly understood that my mother had entered a new, very warped reality. But she never called me. The black sheep thing is complicated for me. I always knew she loved me. I didn't know then, but do now, that she and I were very different people - me, like my dad, a creature of imagination - while she was very grounded and practical and without a whole lot of my sentiment. Still, I felt safe and loved with her, if not completely understood. And I wasn't a black sheep, though I felt like that in the family group - because I was passionate and opinionated and didn't comply without a fight. But I had some great examples in my life, and I guess I decided to follow them. It probably didn't hurt that I lived in a time when kids' lit glorified character and family and virtue instead of quirk and passion and defiance. So I made pretty fair choices and ended up in okay places. When I needed to take care of myself, I did it - screwed up a lot. But being on my own was really not a relief in my world.

Funny, huh, how we all can end up in pretty much the same place having stumbled down different paths. I have my own problems with my mom - as I think back. I almost forget everything she did for me, the things she did understand and supported. I almost completely disregard the dinner on the table and the clean, safe house, and the way she used to go to bat for me (if she saw the sense in it). She bought me a good used flute once - seems like a little thing, but it wasn't.

She deserves my care, and yet, I am too cowardly to think about having to be the care-taker. I am almost unable to spend time at that beautiful place Dad put her in. I can't stand it that my only living memories of her are getting to be the skeletal lady who's lost her teeth and won't open her eyes and mumbles all the time to people we can't see. I've lost her. I've lost her entirely. And for all that I've just written, there were times when I thought, if we'd been the same age, we'd have made pretty good friends.

This whole thing is so desperately sad and strange - this inevitable winding down of strength and ability to function intellectually and emotionally. I see it right in front of me, but I still just don't get it. I think I don't even get time - I'm not sure I believe in what went before. Being a kid. Having kids that were little. It's so gone. Only the photographs are proof that any of it actually happened.

You can get very metaphysical, starting down that road. So I've gone to - what is it the hymn says - one step, enough for me - doing the next thing to be done, loving the moment at hand (at which I have little success).

I don't believe in the future either, I guess. Which patently isn't true, because I'm still saving money so I can eat in it. None of us know what's going to happen. I have a friend who was washing the dishes one day and said, " I don't know why I keep doing this. I could be dead by Thursday." But her brother smiled and said, "Yeah - but you can't count on it."

teent

I like every bit of this, but the last line especially.

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