Yesterday, I visited my aunt and my mom. I meant to leave before the sun went down, but instead ended up taking my mother out for a drive at dusk. She asked me to take her to the bank, which I thought was in town about ten minutes away. As we were driving I asked – “Where’s your bank?” She replied, “Kingston”. Uph – about 45 minutes away, and from where I just came.
I drove my car for four hours yesterday, going back and forth between 24 miles.
I dislike driving. I deliberately lived without a car for eight years while in Flagstaff. I rode my bicycle everywhere. And when I did get a car, for the first year, I only drove it four times. This time of year I’m missing the desert, going to Sedona or Prescott to mountain bike, breathing fresh cold air. I miss moving my body outdoors.
I feel like after almost a year of taking care of my mother, I’m coming out of some kind of fog.
Before leaving my mom and my aunt, I looked at the lake and sky.
I had the deep sense that nothing will ever be the same again.
The lake is different. The sky is different. The owl hooting was even from a different place in the woods.
They way I feel is different.
My mom is smaller and smaller every time I see her. She has a disease called progressive supranuclear palsy. It is like ALS meets Parkinson’s Disease without the shaking. She is slowly losing her ability to swallow. She can’t move her eyes down or up. Her hands are curled up and she has arthritis. Her body is stiff and she bends forward. She cannot walk. She has difficulty forming words. She has bouts of anger and bouts of laughter. She can’t feed herself.
Basically, she cannot function without aid. Period.
Since moving back to New York, my overarching reality has been to take care of mom – knowing that she is dying – trying to keep her as comfortable as possible while the inevitable eventually happens.
I could not do it without giving myself up, so I had to stop. I stopped in November. I left.
I still help, but I am no longer immersed in Mom’s care every minute of the day.
I am figuring out where I am. What matters to me.
I left Flagstaff, a major relationship, all my music projects, and some really good friends. I didn’t have time to acknowledge that until now. I enjoy making music, and art, and writing, and yoga. And hiking and biking. That hasn’t changed. It’s the relationship to it all that has.
Putting my life on hold sort of hurt. My head feels foggy.
Yesterday, everything felt different. Like the fog is lifting.
I’ve taken pictures of the moon through the trees many times over the last year. Last night I observed myself taking pictures as if it was the last time I would ever take these images from the same place again. Maybe I won’t see the moon in the same way again. I won’t know until it happens.
There is no turning back. No stopping change.
The planet Jupiter has moved from the misty watery sign of Pisces in Aries. The elemental shift from no boundaries to fiery autonomy is not lost on me. This winter feels like the sun shining it’s light on the edge of the sky at the first inklings of dawn. Something is happening.
By the Spring I suspect my reality from right now is going to be barely recognizable.
And so it goes.
December 30, 2022