Dad had been sharing work stories in the past month or so, and had shared a story about a job where he had to bid so high as to not get the client, because they wanted to excavate into a clay hill that sat on top of a granite dome (that would also need excavation). He tried to convince the client (a hospital) to change their plans, because once the clay at the base of the hill was removed, the clay at the top of the hill would want to take the lower vacant place. He asked them how many deaths per month would be acceptable in trying to drive home the risk factors. In the end he had the company he worked for bit outrageously high. Another company took the job, and two young men died weeks into the project as the clay came sliding down on them.
I couldn't tell if he felt guilty about the deaths, whether he feels he could have taken the job and insisting on extra safety precautions, because apparently the excavators weren't taking the necessary care. He's still pained by those deaths today.
So when he told me this dream, i knew it had a visceral impact. And i can see how he sees all the crumbling around him.
--== ∞ ==--
Taking Mom shopping was a good way to spend time with her. There were some good sales: she ended up paying 40% of retail. I admit to thinking dismissive thoughts about the TravelSmith dresses i buy off eBay: they're plastic shifts. But looking at what's for sale, i think i'm doing pretty well. We did find one nice quality dress for Mom, and then a couple more that bridge between the cheap Amazon dresses we've been buying her and the nice dress. We just had a few hours (probably my limit anyhow) so my sister and i could get back to work. (Or "work" for me - i'm still struggling to engage.)
I sobbed on my way home, dad's dream coming over me. I hope they can find the way of grace through this. I hope i can refrain from judging the way they choose to go through this. I just look at my Dad and think of his very long lived family, and know that if he takes care not to fall and break more bones, he has an active ten more years. Mom's personality is back since the stroke: just weeks before the stroke i remember feeling how faded and passive Mom seemed. But she's not mentally competent -- and it's not just how she complains about Dad, but also how her reasoning shunts down unrelated paths to dead ends when we talk.
I hope Dad doesn't frame this as a battlefield situation. He revisits his military training frequently. Aging is not an enemy. It's no kind friend, either. It's statistics and genes and a culmination of choices and the luck to not have been hit by a truck or eaten by a bear. I just don't want him to feel guilty to survive her. And i don't know how i would face it myself, although i try to mentally prepare to loose Christine before age catches up with me. And i know that statistics could grant me cognitive failure, myself. It all sucks.
I do expect to live to worry about the chestnut trees shading the septic field.
--== ∞ ==--
The PET scan for Mom is tomorrow. Then the visit with specialists is on the 28th.
--== ∞ ==--
Meanwhile, i obsess about the coming travel. I've changed the hotel i'm staying at for the conference. The more i read the reviews, the more i became certain i'd reserved at a real dive. I don't need a really nice place, but i shouldn't be worried about the odors of the hall and bathroom. The corporate travel site does not efficiently pull up prices, so i kept clicking to reveal out of range prices or fully booked messages until i finally found a place in the corporate price range. So that was a win.
I don't imagine i'll be going back to the room to hang out all evening, but i don't want to dread going back to the room. Four weeks from now is the last day of the conference, proper.
Fireflies light up the night these days.