Personal Stories

Musings for a Hot Afternoon: Sunday, July 19, 2020

We have a heat advisory here in the mountains – something that doesn’t happen too often. It’s 93°F here right now with only 43% humidity, so it actually doesn’t feel to bad to be in the house with the fans going. It won’t get out of the 70’s overnight, so the air conditioning is on in the bedroom.

Watched part of the Mets-Yankees game last night. It’s “pre-season” baseball so there’s not much excitement to it. Still, it was fun to watch. I don’t use the television in my bedroom much, but my usual summertime thing in the evening is to go in there and put on the baseball game and watch it laying down. I tried to do that last night, and my Samsung Smart TV deleted my MLB TV app and I couldn’t get it back. An hour of frustration with no matter how many different ways I tried to search for it was fruitless. I finally ordered another FireTV stick for that television so now I can get it there. Of course, with the delivery times now, that’s a week or more away.

It isn’t a big deal in the scope of things, I know, but some of these little luxuries in life are what’s getting us through. I’m so glad baseball is “back,” even if they are piping in crowd sounds and have cardboard cutouts in the stands.

Yesterday was a good day, though. I went for a long drive in my Wrangler up through northwestern Maine. I didn’t get as far as I wanted to go, but for a good reason. I found a beautiful location known as Devil’s Den with some remarkable formations, waterfalls, and an uncrowded swimming hole. I spent about 2 hours swimming around at the base of the falls. It was magnificent and peaceful. There aren’t many spots like this that the tourists don’t pile in, especially this summer.

We had thought about doing a canoe and tube float down the river today, but the tourists piled into the locations where we’d park and put the canoe in the water and get out. That’s the bad side of living here – as beautiful as it is, it gets so crowded you can’t do the beautiful things available to us all the time.

Instead, we went over the camper again; at least for a little while before the afternoon heat piled on. When we opened it for the first time in few years, we discovered a couple of hornets nests and some water damage. The water damage likely came when a friend of mine, trying to be helpful, cleared snow from the roof one winter and put a hole through the skylight with a broom. We put a plastic crate over it until we could get it out and get it repaired at Camping World, but some damage was done. It’s not bad. One of the lights inside wasn’t working and I ordered a new one. That was put in this weekend and it’s working fine.

Some of the canvas is stained, either from the water or the hornets. We tried a couple of different chemicals on it but some of the stains remain. Still, that won’t damage its usability. Everything else inside is in great shape. I’m looking at a camping trip the end of September to northern Maine. A group of geocachers get together every year at the same place. I’m going to make a reservation and hope for the best at this point. Assateague might get put on hold because of the school quarantine requirements. I’m not worried about it myself – the whole idea is that we would be self-contained and not have to go anywhere while we’re there. I don’t want to expose my son to possible Corona contamination so we would bring everything we need with us and not have to stop for anything except gas. If it ends up we can’t go, then the September trip would be our first camping trip with the camper.

Speaking of Corona, we are up to 71 total cases in this county. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but we were at 49 at the end of June. The tourists coming in do seem to be causing a slow rise. We will see what happens the next few weeks. I’m hoping that once the majority of them are gone the end of August we will not see as many cases again. That would be the time Danny would be allowed to go back to work. I know he’s tired of video games.

I try not to dwell on some things, but something another friend of mine wrote has me thinking about this today.

My Dad, Walter, with my daughters Melinda & Janine

My Dad died in 2015. It was hard for me at the time. I’d seen so much death and dying in the years before then. He was in hospice care at a local nursing home. They called me one day to come, and I sat there with him for about an hour and I could feel myself falling apart. I said goodbye, and that I loved him, then went out to talk to the nurses. I didn’t think I could go through this again. I left and didn’t go back. He hung on for several days. The nurses called me again a few days later and I didn’t want to go. I said I’d talk about it with my family. We decided I’d wait to have someone go with me. Before that could happen, I got the call he had passed.

I have some guilt not being there for him, but I think I would have ended up an emotional mess if I had. I had made promises to my mother about taking care of him and felt I did the best I could while preserving my sanity. By this time I’d been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Getting through each day was a challenge. Still, though, I wasn’t there when he died because I chose not to be.

The guilt wells up at times like this, then it will ebb in a few days. I cannot be everything to everyone, and I spent a lot of my life trying to do that and forgetting to take care of myself. Now I am better and being able to do things I need to do, although I am missing traveling with my friends in this age of pandemic.

7 replies »

  1. It’s true. We can’t be the ideal person for everyone, Patti.

    I wanted to be there for my mom as she lay in her deathbed. I always imagined I would. But I just couldn’t. That room was the smallest one in the house, and it was crammed with people surrounding my mother’s hospital-style bed. Plus…my worst enemy was there, so there was that, too.

    You did the best you could at the time. So did I. That outweighs any criticisms we get from others, or even ourselves.

      • What crosses my mind all the time is this self-accusatory thought:

        “Well, if the tables had been reversed, my mother would have been by my side no matter what.”

        And knowing Mom, she would have.

        So, there’s that. But the reality is…I might be my mom’s son. And I know that of her two kids, I was her favorite. But…I’m not my mom.

        The consoling corollary to this, of course, is that I acquitted myself honorably throughout the entire process. Even when the State of Florida had some of the insurance money in its “unclaimed funds” account, I did my best to make sure Vicky got her share. So…my guilt over not being there at the very end is outweighed by that. I still can’t shake it off 100%, but it grows fainter and fainter with each passing year.

        May peace be with you as well, Patti.

  2. I think I would be by my child’s side no matter what – that’s just part of being a parent. It’s also what scares me about this pandemic; not being able to be with Danny if he gets sick. That would be very hard for both of us due to his autism. It’s a different dynamic, parent to child than child to parent. We expect to outlive our parents.

  3. Patti, Alex, even if you were in the room when your respective parents passed away, you would find something you could have done or should have done differently. Not that I think either of you were at all negligent. It’s just the way we humans are wired.

    No, I don’t know the details in either case, but I wish you both peace. I imagine your parents would forgive your imperfections. We’re only humans.