i've been away, again, from home - a full week, from thursday to thursday, down in montgomery checking on my parents and trying to be of some help. mostly i spent a lot of time simply being there, in their midst, feeling helpless, useless, adrift. things are changing with them at a rapid rate - my father's dementia, my mother's growing refusal to ask for any help. their world right now seems incredibly isolated, confined, although the home my mother has created in the brand new spot is lovely and homey and filled with love and light. i moved up here to north carolina, six hours from them, fifteen years ago; it is here that my life has evolved, that my world envelopes me. so, the helplessness sits with me here, as well, along with useless guilt and confusion as to how i can help without resist.
while i was in montgomery, i worked on a necklace for myself, using a beautiful precious metal clay heart pendant that my sweet friend lisa gave to me while i was teaching in port townsend. i love this piece, and love wearing it at my throat, where it grows warm, where i can hold it and remember the unconditional love in which it was so off-handedly given. that's lisa: selfless, loving, always a cheshire grin on her face. sitting in my parents' kitchen, knotting smoky blue gemstones and pearls onto cord as a gift for myself, from another earlier gift, was a simple and quiet pleasure that i'll always carry with me in my heart. i took this photograph of myself late last night, after being on the long stretch of road all day between here and the flatlands of alabama: a little in the light, and a little in the dark. it doesn't look all that different from the photograph i snapped seven days ago, hiding behind a book: tired, unadorned, frazzled and feeling my age. i look at my face and can see how clearly i look as if i am about to slowly dissolve; i see it right there, deep in my watery blue green eyes. i write about this and wince as i anticipate the responses i may very well receive: snap out of it. don't be so selfish. quit thinking of yourself so much. take control. grow up. i don't feel like i will ever completely become an adult. part of me will always be the little girl raised by two beautiful people who did the best they could, with me. and i'm doing the best that i can, now, with them. i love them and reach out for them, i let them know that i will be there in a six hour heartbeat, should they ask. or even if they don't.
i took this photograph yesterday morning, as i was about to get in the car and drive away. daddy had thought it would be amusing to wear that hat; he had quietly sat in the corner of the living room while i came and went, loading the car, he sat there with isaac on a leash and watched me walk back and forth, in and out. my father breaks my heart, my mother too. my heart is slowly breaking today. xo