A ray of sunshine…

My twin brother Ralph and I used to go back and forth at each other on just about anything.  We couldn’t push the needle in far enough or often enough.  I’m surprised our parents didn’t give up on parenting at an early age.

But all of that good-natured sparring changed quickly this summer (indeed, most of the past 24 months).  Our daily conversations held little room for levity as we inevitably shifted from care for two aging parents to how we would tend to our widowed mother.  Ralph has carried virtually all of the load when it comes to watching over mom.  He’s shouldered it all; medical appointments, her move closer to him in Grand Island, plus his daily visits and short weekend jaunts to get mom out of her pleasant but cramped room.  It’s worn on him.  I can tell.

But as you might have seen last Friday (November 12) there is a ray of sunshine.  Mom is feeling better, her moods have flattened out, her medications fine-tuned to her needs.

I haven’t written Ralph about all that’s gone on, notably on his end.  But I did last night before I left work.


November 16, 2010

Bro: It is just amazing to see the photos of mom and the other oldsters that Country House e-mails to family members.  It is just incredible to see her smiling and having a bit of fun for a change.  Was that a shot of her drinking beer at some establishment?  At least they don’t have to check their IDs before serving them.  Dad had his MGD and mom has whatever it was she was having.  Good for the staff to get them out of that place for a little while.

That’s been a great move to get her out of Omaha and closer to you guys.  Not that Lakeside wasn’t nice enough but it just didn’t put her close to the remaining family that she has.  It would’ve been extraordinarily tough for you and Gayle to traipse back and forth to do the errands and such.  You already had put enough miles on your cars.  I wish I could be closer to help out, but I’m not.

I don’t know what strings you pulled on the medications, but you pulled all the right ones.  She just looks calmer, happier, and more even.  What the hell was the concoction she was on?  I’m still not sure what she was taking or how dad or Lakeside kept track of it all, but something is apparently going right at this point.

I’m still up in the air about Christmas.  If it is at all possible, I will get out there somehow, some way.  Things look to truly be drawing to a close here, and if that is the case then I very well may bolt early and drive out.  There just isn’t much of a future at the bank.  They’ve had their fill of me I’m sure but the extension has been good.  Mapquest shows it as a shade over 1,200 miles and that’s really doable in a couple of stiff days.  I suppose it will be weather dependent in part.  Probably 700-800 miles one day and 400+ the next.  That would get me into GI around dinner time on whatever day it will be.  I’ve got to figure out a way to make a stop in Omaha to remove the belongings from Pete’s place and get it over to Des Moines at Kathy’s house.  She still owns it although her time is really in California now.  Things can stay snug and secure there until the kids have adequate time to claim it.

Reid seemed to enjoy his time with Andy and Steph and your grandbabies out in Palo Alto.  He seems to be warming to that place but the cost of living would be well beyond him right now.  I wouldn’t put it past him to try to figure out a way to shift his life West.  I keep thinking his stake is firmly in the ground in Chicago, but as I found, there is life beyond the borders of the Midwest.  I haven’t seen any photos of the birthday party but some will probably surface sooner than later.

I am excited about St. Paul for Thanksgiving.  Ellen has had a tough go in the school system.  As Gayle knows, it’s not so much about teaching but about preparing for tests.  That’s been a real drag for her and she spends a ton of time at the school prepping for things or doing obligatory paperwork.  Tim seems to keep her pretty grounded although his 3M job keeps the boy moving all the time.  That’s okay.

Well, I’m gonna sign off.  It’s 7:15 here and I’m ready to leave the office.  You guys be good, and thanks for all you’re doing for mom.  My guess is that she appreciates it, and I know I do, too.  Go Big Red.

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