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Idol Season 10 Week 0 – introductions

My father is ill. Cancer we are being told caused by Agent Orange. My mother is losing her mind. There are four of us children, one of whom has estranged herself and her family.

The home my parents have lived in for forty years is on the market. It is a two-hour drive from me and my youngest sister. My father has been desperately trying to convince my mother to leave this house and move closer to us, to buy something new, to shed the old skin, get used to a new skin. She has refused for the past five years. Vehemently. He has taken to referring to their home as The Mausoleum. At one time, that was amusing.

Early last month the house sold just as they were preparing to take it off the market for the winter. My father bought a new house within three days of accepting the offer on the old house. This lightning-fast action was a tell. This was the beginning of my mother falling completely apart. Forty years of accumulated memories felt like safety to her. We began packing up the house. The impossibility of voluntary change has made everything involuntary and necessary for her and for those who are trying desperately to help.

There is no help but that you can offer to yourself.

Night after night of panic attacks. Weekend after weekend of packing and loading and storing. And the sale fell through. My mother’s relief was palatable. My father refused to back out of the purchase of the new house. Things became unbearable. Ten days ago, my father was hospitalized with a severe condition, a side effect to the chemotherapy. Therapy which is a bodily punishment.

My sister flew across the country for solidarity. I don’t think we would have survived this week without her. We are as though the living dead. I cannot speak to this reaction. I don’t know why all hope has been stripped out of our lives, I don’t understand why any positivity is met at once with a crushing negative response. So many lessons with knowledge gleaned that is essentially useless.

A house of light and warmth has been reduced. Boxes are stacked to the ceiling, walls bare, shelves empty. My father insisted on being discharged. He has returned to the house he hates with oxygen and endless medication bottles. He’s on a bed downstairs and claims to be overjoyed that he will never again see the second floor of his home. Yesterday a wheelchair was ordered while he sat silent in the other room.

His mind is as it ever was, his body forsakes him hourly. Her mind is betraying her.

Everything changes. Nothing will remain the same.


Now is the time of my harrowing.

The seasons change, my body is the earth. The winnowing, the harvesting; then harrowed but left fallow. I can produce nothing.

I am changing. Becoming more, becoming less. My heart’s loves are changing, as well. My tribe is enduring a life passage, a season. A phase is upon us. And strangely, this is an event which has no ray of hope, no sliver of sunshine breaking through the cracks. The hopelessness is overwhelming, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

The metaphors.

We are within the chrysalis, the lives we lived before becoming a strange recollection of another body, a different experience.

My universe is cold and growing dark, each star that I have long used to guide my way is burning to ash, the lights winking out. One by one. The vault of heaven lowers, the velvet black shroud envelops.

My maternal grandfather spent months building a hard-rock maple cradle in anticipation of the birth of my second sibling. The third of four girls. She has grown and estranged herself. My mother cannot see the cradle without weeping, but she cannot bear to part with it. It has fallen to me to care for it. One of those symbolic items which human beings bear the weight of upon their spiritual shoulders, carrying it through one life before the reverential passing of it to another’s back. The cradle is beautiful but it is grief-laden.

Last night I dreamt my father was in a strangely-lit hospital where all the patients were lying prone in sleep-like comas from which they would not awaken again, in this life. In the dream, I was stricken, not for my father but for my mother. I fetched the cradle and my first sibling and I gently placed my father into it as one would a slumbering infant. We then appointed ourselves guardians, rocking the cradle each time we paused beside it as we went about the daily chores and movements of our lives.


( 67 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 8th, 2016 04:54 pm (UTC)
So sad and so beautifully written. Having gone through parental issues, selling the family home and dealing with the denial of change that needs to happen I can so relate to this entry. i wish you strength. I'm coming out of the other side of my family issues. I hope you and your family can get through this.
Nov. 8th, 2016 05:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you, so very much. It's these small kindnesses which help recharge.

It's the strangest experience, isn't it? This feeling of utter isolation and hopelessness coupled with huge gouts of empathy for all fellow human beings who have or will endure similar.
(no subject) - baxaphobia - Nov. 8th, 2016 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 8th, 2016 05:06 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful entry, after such sorrow. With all these issues, I was wondering if you would be able to participate, and I'm so glad you'll be here. I hope everything turns out well for your family, but this is such a burden to bear. My thoughts have been with you.
Nov. 8th, 2016 05:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you, G. It means so much to know that others are keeping you in their thoughts. I hope I can produce some sort of writing, moreso for myself than for Idol, these next few months. I think I need time to sit and focus. Idol provides that.

And I am so happy to see you here! I hope to find time this afternoon to catch up on entries and old faces and new faces!
Nov. 8th, 2016 05:39 pm (UTC)
This was heartbreaking and utterly beautiful
Nov. 8th, 2016 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comment!
Nov. 8th, 2016 06:17 pm (UTC)

Beautifully told. I've been there! Hugs.

Nov. 8th, 2016 06:22 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thanks, hon. There is a comfort in this shared experience.
Nov. 8th, 2016 07:12 pm (UTC)
:( I'm so sorry all of this is happening. The house situation sure doesn't help-- I thought that sale was a done deal! I can understand why your mother clings, as everything suddenly worsens. It's too much change for her all at once, even though the 2-hour trip is too much for the kids, and that isolation will not help her going forward.

I do hope your father improves, and that there is an easing of this pain and difficulty for you all. *hugs*
Nov. 8th, 2016 07:26 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thanks, K. So many things aren't helping...and it's impossible to hold people accountable for bad decisions made with a thimbleful of information. But I do wish some of us would at least attempt a smile.

I really appreciate your supportive words! I'm glad that Idol has begun again. I desperately need the focus.
Nov. 8th, 2016 07:15 pm (UTC)
So hard. I've been through my version of it too. I'm sorry it's happening to you-all.
Nov. 8th, 2016 07:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you, B. I appreciate seeing your voice.
Nov. 8th, 2016 07:59 pm (UTC)
Nov. 9th, 2016 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you, B. *HUGS*
Nov. 8th, 2016 08:09 pm (UTC)
The last line! This is, to me, the very essence of your soul. The tenderness, and compassion, the caring and unending ability to cherish that is beautifully drawn in this last shared thought exemplifies, almost perfectly, your gentle spirit and generosity.

My heart aches for you. I send you love and prayers and wrap you in a cosmic embrace.

Your "introduction" is wonderful, profound, and precious. You share the facts, and so brilliantly express the overwhelming emotion.

Nov. 9th, 2016 03:45 pm (UTC)
*HUGS* Thank you, M. Thank you for all the things you say. Your friendship is important to me and in the intensity of Life it is these calm reachings-out that slow us down, hold us still for a while, and help us to appreciate!
Nov. 8th, 2016 08:35 pm (UTC)
Nov. 9th, 2016 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you, L. *HUGS*
Nov. 8th, 2016 09:47 pm (UTC)
that's ... really hard. keep breathing, the wheel turns, the seasons change <3
Nov. 9th, 2016 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you, J. I know, I know...it's all about time.
Nov. 8th, 2016 10:26 pm (UTC)
My father has flipped his mind, but his body is strong and healthy. He still retains enough cunning to pass any test of sanity the court would give, so there is not much I can do...
Nov. 9th, 2016 03:44 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thank you. Life is such a mysterious, mysterious thing.
Nov. 8th, 2016 10:43 pm (UTC)
*hugs* A very beautifully put post!

Nov. 9th, 2016 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you, S. *hugs*
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Nov. 9th, 2016 03:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you, G. *hugs* Life is such an amazing thing, isn't it? There is no question that we need one another and that is most apparent and true during the darkest times. We must continue to be beacons of light and hearths of warmth to each other.
Nov. 9th, 2016 12:25 am (UTC)
*hugs hugs* How sad; I'm so sorry. Wishing you all strength and serenity to get through this most difficult life-passage. Love you, dearheart; hang in there.

Nov. 9th, 2016 03:52 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thank you so much for these supportive words. We are all connected. It's a strange thing how we don't want to make someone else's situation about us...and yet, the truth is that our journeys are overlapped and we are so deeply affected by one another, especially in situations such as this...with the familial tie, the love, the pain that is both emotional but also physical. Trying to find my way, dearheart.
Nov. 9th, 2016 01:18 am (UTC)
This was beautifully written, and I am so sorry for all that you are going through.
Nov. 9th, 2016 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading and for this supportive comment. It means a lot!
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