Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Doctors' appointments and the fifth commandment

The neurologist's appointment went well. It was very stressful but the doctor was kind and patient, and says Mum definitely has cognitive spatial impairment and shouldn't be driving. We have a lot of other tests and appointments booked, so I'm very very very grateful for all the help that's been offered and all the help we've already received.

There's a part in Gilead where the narrator says that the commandment to honour your father and mother is necessary partly because parents are so much a mystery to their children. Honouring children comes more naturally, but parents have their own lives before the children come along, and an interiority which can never be fully understood. I suppose we're all mysteries to each other, but as my mother starts to lose her faculties I am beginning to learn about the internal structures of her mind, her history, and especially her fears. And her separateness. She's more of a loner than I am, more introverted, and more contemplative. They don't know yet the strength of family and community that is rising up to meet them. I'm trying to tell them in bits, and slowly, because it will be overwhelming for them.

My friend Amy says that she's sorry we're so sad so often, because we have a beautiful life. We do. It's beautiful and it's rich and it's hard and right now there's a lot of sadness and mourning as my mother and I switch roles, and I learn to take care of my parents.

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