Saturday, March 22, 2008

What I Really Meant to Write

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Now, No One Can Suggest That I'm Not Authentic

My entire previous entry, it seemed, was encouragement for the re-posting I'm about to do, of two entries that I posted in the course of a few days, at work, on the discussion database, which is dedicated to IBM's gay, lesbian, bi and trans community and our colleagues; I've been really upset about my mom's recent car accident and how it is affecting my routine, and it felt like a huge version of the many times our roles were reversed, growing up, where she needed parenting, and I gave it to her:

Posted on March 18, 2008

Last night, my 82-year-old mom was sitting in her wheelchair in the nursing/rehab facility, falling asleep; on March 3rd, she had a bad car accident that involved only her car, a tree and her, and she broke several bones, including ribs and her lateral tibia plateau (if I remember the term correctly) -- her knee:

Me: "I could sing you 'Shlof mayn kind,' but you're not 'mayn kind' ['my child]." ["Shlof mayn kind" is a Yiddish lullaby that my father used to sing to my sisters and me when we were kids],

My mom: "The roles are reversed."

Me: "Well, it's not the first time."

My mom: Silence and pretending to be, or genuinely, asleep.

I'm full of resentment, anger, adoration, grief, melancholy, devastation, love, regret, guilt, self-preservation sense....

If anyone else has had an aging parent, who has needed extra attention suddenly, please respond to the following questions here or send e-mail to me, so that maybe all of us can feel less alone in it:

  1. Have you had to broach the subject of their selling their home and moving either into assisted living or a nursing home?
  2. If so, how did it go, and what tips for success in such a discussion can you offer?
  3. If you chose to have them live with you, how did you manage it? (I am not likely to go this route and I imagine how culturally alien/heartless that might seem to a number of this community.)
  4. If you were appointed durable power of attorney, how involved and complicated was the responsibility?
  5. How did you compartmentalize, so you could get your work done with minimal distraction?
  6. How did you show love without being selfless?
  7. How did you take care of your other loved ones and yourself while you had to pay extra attention to your parent?

Thanks for providing answers to any of these questions, and for answering any others that didn't occur to me.

Posted on March 21, 2008

My colleague and friend, John, posted first:
Since we've been talking about aging parents, the winner in the Short Film category is a 6.25-minute video about a girl dealing with her mother's onset of Alzheimer's. It's quite (that's quite in the American sense of the word) poignant.

It's here:

The page showing all of the nominees is here:

I watched the winner twice and responded:
Yeah, it was sad.

Once, when I was seven, my mother and father left me at a gas station on the Merritt Parkway, after the three of us stopped to go to the bathroom. They were many miles north before they realized I wasn't under the sleeping bag in the back of the station wagon.

The gas station attendant bought me hot chocolate from the vending machine and sat with me till the Connecticut state troopers came and took me up the parkway to reunite with my parents. I was upset that they might be worried when they figured out that I wasn't there.

This is not fiction.

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