Went out on the lake with my dad this morning. It was lovely.
We were able to talk a bit about Mom. He regrets not really knowing how messed up Mom was due to being distracted by his work. He thought her issues began when my sister first left home: i pointed out she had issues long before that and pointed out how she said the same judgmental things to me as she did to him (beginning with, you are just like your father). He immediately saw the issue of child vs adult. And he immediately could name several patterns of behavior that connect to her current state from my early childhood.
I'm so happy he's done the emotional work he needed to do to be able to see how Mom needed and needs to have a safe space made for her. He's loved her for years and still loves her. It felt good to talk and for both of us to have clarity -- she doesn't take responsibility for herself, she denies herself agency to change -- and compassion. I remember what it was like to be caught up in her barbed judgement and criticism. I can see beyond that, now, to the angry, fearful ... child, in a way.
Bits of the conversation were about her memory. We were out to dinner with them earlier in the week and Mom asked if Christine and i knew each other in high school. So much tension & dysfunction between Mom and I over me dating Christine, including the "I will divorce your father to show you how you should stop seeing" Christine Easter holiday, the blackmail from my diary, the snark about supporting the arts.... That nastiness distressed me, and i leaned heavily on Christine through it. Christine, in turn, has no inclination to forgive my mother for putting me through the distress i went through. So, to get the question, did we know each other in high school.... She was such a significant part of our story of each other that year, it's surreal that it has slipped her mind.
But it's one of many things.
It seems unlikely to be due to Alzheimer's at least, as it's her history she's forgetting not last week.
I'm so glad to be back to be able to help him help her. She's apparently resisting going back to church because she's distressed at not remembering people and things.
Meanwhile, i have an edge of anger, and i suspect my dad does too: Mom did so much to take care of people, where are they now that she needs a little attention?
Well, it was good to have time to talk about our concerns about Mom, but we also delighted in the early morning light as it hit the autumn colors in the trees. We saw fish jump out of the mirror surface of the water. Crows, cormorants, juvenile eagles, grebes, great blue herons, killdeer & kingfishers.
I tried not to dwell on the fact that my camera batteries almost all are shot (except for one that needed to be recharged), thus i was not taking pictures with the camera but with my phone. It was tranquil, and we explored up a narrow reach that felt wonderfully remote. I showed off the GPS attachment to my iPad with the USGS Quad maps: he thought it was the best thing ever. Their iPad is pre-lightning connector, and i didn't see any GPS on eBay for the older iPad connector format. I have half a thought of getting a new ipad for myself, and giving Dad mine and another GPS dongle. Hrm. A new iPad isn't nearly as expensive as i thought. Hmm.
Speaking of expensive, i'd found that there was a setting on the Galaxy note where it would ignore the hardware signal that the pen was put up (caused by putting the stylus in backwards) and it would sense the pen! Hurrah! And then i put the pen up in the little storage area (where i had broken off the "top" by putting it in backwards) and now i can't get it out. Fie. It turns out that styluses for the older model are available for less than ten dollars. I ordered two. I'm back to not wanting a replacement phone for a good while again.
What we really want is a deer fence around a cleared & graded orchard area, as well as a circle for the driveway.