While awaiting my father’s discharge, I spent time in the chapel. The peace and quiet gave me a great deal of solace. I would imagine angels and Mary at my side as the sound of various beeping machines vanished behind me. It was the only time that I was truly happy while at the hospital. Once my father was transported to a nursing home, step two of this new journey began; I am the child of aging parents.
Many people my age find themselves in this situation. They must balance the care of their small children while handling the care of their parents. A career and social life are thrown in the mix for good measure. I find myself wondering if it is okay to venture out for some fun without an emergency call to rush to my father’s bedside. Although he seems to be settling into this new place, there is a new dynamic for me to observe. My mother is living by herself for the first time in decades.
In the meantime, it has come to my attention that perhaps my emotions are nocturnal. During the day, I am relatively stress free and content. Once the sun goes down and sandman appears, slumber escapes me. Hour after hour find me and my thoughts entangled in a web of wonder. The holistic approach to this bout of insomnia will be taken yet again but until the root of this current sleeplessness is handled, I fear that there will be many a night of wide eyes.
It was around 5pm on a Friday evening when I decided to call my father to say hello. There wasn’t any answer. After I hung up, the sound of the phone ringing startled me especially when it said Daddy. My mother called me back to tell me that she was at Baptist Hospital with my father. He had been rushed there earlier that morning. As I clicked off, it boggled my mind as to why I wasn’t informed of this horrific event. As I grabbed my purse and ran to my car, complete disregard for attending a party drifted away. Welcome to Memorial Day Weekend of 2014.
After I found my father’s room, we talked for a very long time. There were hard questions that I needed answers to. Funeral arrangements, assisted living, medical access. We agreed that the strain of it all was entirely too much for my dear mother, and I promised to return soon. When I did finally return on another day, he had been admitted. There was a lot of sitting for me. A few nurses came and spoke. Shortly after my mother returned to sit with my father, I left for the long ride home.
The question has been asked of me, how do you cope with all of this? Well, there are a lot of good things about this situation. My father is in an excellent hospital. My schedule is about to clear for vacation which will give me more time to devote to him. There is a chapel with a beautiful surrounded by a meditation garden. Spending time there is a great comfort to me. I felt the presence of Mary and angels while meditating so there is a great deal of support. There is a dance class that is coming up that I plan to try and there is talk of me playing another tennis match. My water intake is good and I’ve been working on my sleeping schedule. Why there is even a new book on my night stand.
As for the immediate future, there is no way for me to tell how things will turn. What I plan to do is take good care of myself so that I can be there for my family. We need each other right now as our patriarch begins his sunset.
She reached out to him to attend a cultural function in support of the cast. This mysterious gesture came after a long period of him stringing her along after many protests from family and friends. He happily agreed to attend; however, he refused to drive the long distance. She would have to travel south to the MetroRail to pick him up so that everything could be at his convenience. In exchange for this kind gesture, he offered to take her to dinner. They ended up at a cafe for coffee and truffles.
The bill came after wonderful conversation and a nice leisurely dessert. He reached for the receipt which boasted a grand total of: $2.00. He strained for his wallet and quickly suggested that she take care of the tip which was $.75. After this infuriating exchange, she then drove south again to drop him off at the train station so that he could avoid driving such a distance to spend time with her.
A woman has to have enough self-respect not to allow herself to be treated in such a manner. Before you settle for something less than happiness, being alone is a valid option which is scary for many . This is due to the fact that they are unable to enjoy the richness of their own company. There is a lack of self discovery that has yet to manifest which is then placed on another party. If you are unable to make yourself happy, the responsibility should not be given to someone else with the expectation of being saved. You have to do your homework if you plan to pass the class.
Sunday morning found me at the beach. The warmth of the sun was paired nicely with the nice breeze. The palm trees swayed in the background making it a perfect Miami day. As I whipped out my book, the sight of four people dressed in white demanded my attention. There were orange sashes wrapped around their waists. Coincidentally, I was also dressed in all white which is extremely rare. My gaze never left them for long as I was rather intrigued by their presence. It was not long before I venture closer if only to admire them from a closer view. What were they doing I wondered. After about an hour or so, they stood. One went directly into the ocean while the others lingered on the sand genuflecting to the water. It was a very peaceful observation to observe. The most curious question of all was why did I choose to wear white on this very morning and then witness this diving sight?
The word that comes to mind is faith. It is about to come into play for me on an entirely different level. My parents’ health is deteriorating. While I understand this is a part of a cycle, my life is going to change in order to accommodate a natural process. As I await more answers about a proper diagnosis, I find myself wanting to be pro active and faithful. It will now be left to me to trust completely in God. The tables are quickly turning and the time has come for me to become a caretaker. It is a role that I hope that I can execute with dignity and grace. There will be hard days. There will be good days. It will be a journey that will require full support on all fronts. A true test of my faith has arrived.
In facing my fear of going to the barber shop as a client, there are things that have been brought to my attention. It has its advantages over a beauty salon. The barber works on one head at a time which makes the entire process faster. Although a barber shop is cash only, the bill is significantly cheaper than its female counterpart. My personal favorite is that it lacks the drama that has driven me away from all beauty salons.
No soliciting signs deter people from coming into the barber shop to harass you for your money; church play tickets, cookie donations, hand bags, perfumes. There are no children running around. Phones are not constantly ringing because people text their barber of choice. Dryers do not exist and neither do hot iron curlers. Yes, this may be a new haunt of mine.
There I was sitting at my desk. A vision came to me. My eyebrows were immaculate. My head was clean shaven. My fingers soon made an appointment with the local brow boutique. When the brows had been perfected, my car somehow took me to a place that I have always avoided, until now. The barber was pleasantly surprised to make my acquaintance.
My hands carved the tale of no more combs. The hair had to go. Down and out with the afro. I did not want to be a bald woman but close to it would be good enough for me. As the mechanism began its job, the sensation of it working on my scalp was not pleasant. The sounds of poor music and male chatter were not exactly comforting. Fist pounds served as common greetings. Tattoos were in a great abundance. There I sat in the first chair watching my mighty fro meet a dignified end.
As the mirror was pressed into my hands, I beheld the sight of my new self. Does a bald head signify courage on the part of a woman? She is relying completely on her face. Is this a statement? Am I now considered to be a bold woman? All of these thoughts went through my mind. I tipped the barber well and exited the den of men.
My dear friend was notified about the business that kept me away from her phone call. Her shock was pure. While she loved the beauty of my head, the fact that I dared to do something without taking a minute or overanalyzing every angle was simply out of my character. As the responses poured in, it was clear that my head had a fan club. I now await word from….my mother.
The time came for me to clean my garage and finally purge things that have been collecting dust since the 90s. There were papers and awards from elementary school that finally found their fate in the garbage. A magazine titled Illusions caught my attention because I recognized it from middle school. It was published in 1992; my freshman year. There was a piece penned by me on pg. 47.
When it bears its ugly head
something snaps inside me
My ears burn fire;
an overwhelming spirit takes command
of my body and inhabits my soul.
Then everything stops.
My eyes turn to tiny slits
and I think,
“You poor, ignorant man.
You have been blinded
by a common disease
known the world over-
As I read the words that I wrote so long ago, I was impressed. Much of the vocabulary that was used still resonates with me. While the inspiration for such a piece is a mystery to even me, I found its message appropriate for our current day.