To read archived messages from John and Lucinda, click on a month.

June 6, 2013

Did I mention that my mother came to live with us two and a half years ago? Just before her 86th birthday she ended up in the hospital for the first time since giving birth to my twin sister and me. A stress fracture in her back had her in so much pain and on so much morphine, that she blissfully rode out a tornado warning in her hospital room one November afternoon while alarms went off and nurses frantically pushed all moveable patients away from windows and to interior hallways.

After weighing all of the not-so-great options of what to do once we knew she could no longer live alone in her home of nearly 60 years, I decided, against the advise of more than one good friend, to move my mother here to our home in Santa Fe. We built a rather large and very safe room of her own, replete with walk-in tub, and sound proofed it in such a way that she can blast her TV and we, thankfully, cannot hear it. Life is far from perfect, but I stand by my decision that this is (at least thus far) the least stressful of the available options.

Just yesterday I rushed home from a meeting due to an approaching “severe storm.” One dog was in the dog yard, one dog has been scooting himself around due to loss of muscle mass in his rear quarters, the new kitten is to never be outside due to the coyotes of the hood, John was taking his nap and I just thought it would be a damn good idea if I was home to make sure everyone would be safe for the impending high winds, hail and whatever else Mom Nature might have in store.

It was a dad-gum good thing that I came home when I did as I found my mother feeling not at all well. Long story short, she had been dizzy and nauseous since getting up, was clammy and had no appetite. She has also been fighting a cough for a while (exacerbated by the smoke from our two forest fires).

In the last 36 hours I have helped her to get in and out of bed, pulled her up into a sitting position in bed, talked her into eating and drinking a bit, helped her to the bathroom, taken her temperature, taken her to the doctor and to the lab for blood tests, assisted in collecting her urine for testing and generally stuck around. She is feeling better today, but oh my, have these few hours brought back the overwhelming memories of the days, weeks and months of very intense caretaking with John.

Caretaking (or rather caregiving) is no doubt one of the most important and loving things we can do for one another. It can be amazingly rewarding and it can drain the very life out of you as well. My hat is off tonight to all of those who care for others.