Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Old Farthood - Part Deux

Remind me to never throw myself into the subway doors again.

When I was young I thought nothing of wedging myself into the subway doors in the hopes that the conductor would open them wide enough for me (and several others) to sneak into the car... rather than waiting a whole five minutes for the next train to come along.

Noo Yawkers are an impatient lot. We want what we want when we want it. And we don't want to hear any shit about it, either.

Anyway, I don't recover from such nonsense as quickly as I used to do. I'm in a lot of physical pain this morning. I bruised a rib, or pulled a something. All I know is that I wince when I lift my arm like this.... (pause while everyone says, "WELL, DON'T LIFT YOUR ARM LIKE THAT!")

I remember being down the beach house (yes, the family used to have a beach house) sometime in the late 80's. My stepmom had retired and, in those days, I'd go down every year and spend a week alone with her. Anyway, one day I reached up into the kitchen cupboards to get something and something didn't go quite right and all of a sudden, SOMETHING HURT LIKE A SON-OF-A-BITCH. "OUCH" I yelled. She came darting into the kitchen (she's about 4'11", soaking wet) and yelled back, "WHAT HAPPENED?" I told her that I was merely reaching for something when something went horriby awry and I was in PAIN, BLAH, BLAH, SELF-PITY, ETC.

Well, I should've known better than to look for sympathy from her. All she said was, "How old are you know?", so I told her, "38"

She just shook her head, turned around, started to walk away and muttered loud enough for me to hear, "Yeah, that's about the time when that starts happening."


Don't get me wrong, I love my stepmother, but because she didn't raise me she doesn't have those same maternal feelings for me as she does for my half-sister and.... oh, who the hell am I bullshitting? She doesn't have much pity for anybody, come to think of it, whether she raised them or not.

Anyway, the real subject I'm dancing around is that I found out last night that mom's mind is starting to go. I want to cry. I mean, I always knew this day would come, but no matter how much we think we're prepared for these things... we never really are.

I know, deep down inside, that in the next year or two things are going to change, dramatically, for my stepmom and my dad.

I went through this before, with my birth-mom, back in the late 80's and early 90's. But there's a big difference between now and then.

I was drunk then. This time, I can't run away from the pain.

Nor do I want to.


Bev Sykes said...

I hear you, bro. The week with my mother has shown my how much short term memory she has lost. She's too old to be contracting Alzheimers, but we had the same conversation over and over again, she would forget things shortly after I told her...I knew it was happening, but I didn't realize the extent until I actually lived with her for two weeks. It's very sad. She's still very bright, but not quite as bright as she always was.

Bev Sykes said...

(unfortunately short term memory loss has not affected her ability to trounce me at Canasta one whit!)

JoyZeeBoy said...

Yup. It's funny what stays and what goes.

My stepmom and dad are 80 now. I think I'm more prepared for it than my brother and sister are. They've never watched a parent sink the way I have. My sister has already expressed the thought that they'll be looking to me for guidance, when the time comes.

Like I'm any better at it than they would be!

Bev Sykes said...

You will be better at it than they are. It wasn't until David died that I realized how much I'd learned since Gilbert's death and how much it would help me help the family get through their "first grief." You'll be the rock.

And next time, they'll know.

As Dylan Thomas said: "after the first death, there is no other." Until you've had "the first death," I don't think you understand just exactly what he meant.

JoyZeeBoy said...

When I tell friends that I went to my first viewing when I was six and was lifted up so I could see my dead great-grandmother in the casket, they often get a horrified look on their faces.

But growing up in a great big Irish family with a mother who eventually married into a great big Polish family, there were lots of funerals to go to, along with lots of weddings, baptisms, first communions and confirmations.

I never thought anything about it becuase there were always "adults" who tended to things. I just went along for the ride. It was different, though, when I finally had to be the adult, and make the plans, and pay the bills, and accept the condolences, as gracefully as possible.

So, yeah, I guess by now I am the expert in the family, amongst my generation.