I talked to my sister about getting between Christine and her sister. I got some support even though we agreed i made a mistake. I have to say here (because i am cranky at me making the mistake) that her sister had a bit of "all about me" going on. On the other hand, i wrestle with how much i "enable" Christine. I witness her elephants stampeding through her life, and i witness her trying and getting better at getting them under control. If she wasn't getting better, then i'd need to revisit, i think. There are layers and layers that "elephants" are a metaphor for, so "under control" isn't just one set of skills. Mayne i'll run this by my therapist.
I arrived at my folks to find Bourne Ultimatum playing even louder than usual (turns out the movie has quite the dynamic range, so if Mom was going to hear the dialogue, all the shooting was painfully loud). Dad was a bundle of nerves before driving to Goldsboro for his vaccine. We did a little zoom training, he ate lunch - biting his cheek several times, and then off he went.
Mom wanted ... to continue watching Bourne Ultimatum??!! Well, OK then. After that she wanted to watch "the government" so we watched the reivew of the troops, the laying of the wreath at Arlington and the motorcade back, and parts of "Parade Across America," which had me tearing up frequently. Somewhere in there, she actually asked me to take her to the bathroom, a huge thing as i usually get treated like a guest and mom hides her bodily needs. Was it because she thought Dad had gone to Florida and not just for an afternoon errand? Is it the dementia removing a little more inhibition? I still celebrate. And then there was the amusing moment when Mom got us moving with some urgency, and after some struggles at communication, i realized she was asking for her glass of wine. Like a cat with a finely tuned internal clock: bam, 4 pm, need glass of wine. Dad came home, all well.
Christine connected with her sister, and there were some miscommunications cleared up.
My sister called twice to explain she wasn't coming over to exercise Mom. Something was wrong -- i felt an edge at her voice that i've heard when she's had to deal with dead or dying chickens or dogs or cats -- but "all was OK." I assumed there was something like toilets backed up. I was wrong. Later my sister let me know about some of the elephants in her room, that i hadn't observed myself. I'm so sad that she's got this to deal with, and i'm glad i can be near if she needs me. Stupid pandemic.
I'm thinking through some questions to ask her:
- is there anything i can do for her and her family that she knows of now
- is talking about it with me something that would be helpful (and if no)
- can i ask a few questions?
ugh, what i really want to "know" is if i can dismiss the elephant as a "serious" problem because of the stresses of pandemic and before that her job transition and before that mom's stroke and before that all the politics of hate (including some North Carolina stuff before Trump) and before that more job stuff and before that.... Well, the stresses of life don't have an end or beginning for many of us -- at least my family of origin didn't shield kids from drama and stress and worry. I don't think that's a helpful inquiry...