Changes No Longer Pending

My garden will be in a new section of the back yard, next year, and so I will have no more flower photographs from my back yard, this fall. Al has decided to build a workshop that will impinge on the garden and also some of the area that holds my gazebo. I do wonder what that will do to the pattern of snowdrifts, come winter.

I thought to share a few of the photographs that I took yesterday. The puppies are nine months old, now. They’ve had their first trip to the groomer’s, and we are late on getting them in for a second cut.

My mother entered a nursing home under hospice care, last week, and the first care planning meeting is to be next week or the week after. Between the ER, hospital stay and move to the nursing home, along with Al’s cataract surgeries and the permit for Al’s hobby outbuilding, there has been more excitement than I’m comfortable with.

On a brighter note, the pollen index has sunk much more rapidly than I had expected, and I am doing well with breathing. I am pedaling the exercise bike more consistently and with more tension, so that my muscles have more resistance. Thought that would never happen!

The construction folks are not to begin work before 8 o’clock, but I expect that I should now get up to feed and “out” the puppies, before any excitement begins. We didn’t find out until late yesterday afternoon that the work would be done before the end of the week. Weather permitting. And so I also have to get to my appointment for a haircut (rescheduled from the first of the month because of changes in Al’s surgery schedule) and visit with my mother in the nursing home afterwards. Al is dropping me off there, and then returning home to interface with the construction folks.

I am not good at being around people for extended time periods. Argh!

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Thursday’s Garden

Only two flowers appeared, yesterday, on the blue wild flax plants in the wildflower garden. The plot reseeded well, and I’m on my third growth of these annual plants. I don’t think that they will make it into November, though, this year. Al is hoping to build a small building in the back yard for his woodworking, which will allow him to be involved in that during more of the year and also to help keep the sawdust out of the house, since I am quite allergic to it. (Also, his working surfaces will not continuously fill with boxes, bottles, etc. that keep him from working without a couple days of cleaning first.)

He’s suggested that we abandon the current flower garden in favor of a 4′ x 10′ close to the southwest edge of the lot, so that I can kneel in the soft grass and reach to plant and weed comfortably along the whole garden plot. I expect that we will need to bring in fresh soil as well as nutrients to mix in, if the clay is too close to the surface. I need to figure out where the shadows lie, so that I will select wildflower mixtures to suit. I would like to plant some milkweed and some butterfly bush plants. And perhaps flax seed for plants with both red and blue flowers.

Still missing her

In the gazebo together, my cocker spaniel
Samantha – 2016-02-05
3 April 2008-18 February 2016

The milestones in life, birth, adoption, birthdays, illnesses and death. My mother’s move from hospital into a nursing home under hospice care on Tuesday, and I find myself returning to the sorrow and leavetaking from my puppy Samantha in February. I have photographs of her in my lap at the veterinary hospital when we brought her in and decided to have her euthanized.

Warm, here in my lap
I held her tight,
letting go forever . . .
so hard

Mother and I were quite close before I left for college, and then starting again perhaps ten years after my graduation. Restaurants, plays, lectures, faculty recitals, orchestra concerts, telephone visits once they were no longer metered. After I married, she and I spent much less time together, which was inevitable. Now, over the past five years or so, as her eyesight failed (which fact she did not share with me until earlier this year), her loss of hearing increased, and she isolated herself, so as to remain with Dad in their home, and I no longer see the person that I’ve known all of my life. She did not say until just a few months ago, and much more as she more quickly fades: “I am changing, now. I have been changing. I have changed and cannot be the person that you thought you knew. All these things about my past, I am telling you now, so you will know why I am leaving with so much pain, fear and regret. So much rage.”

After my husband and I returned home, the next evening, we talked openly about our experiences of growing up, our decisions and transitions, our self-understandings and our separate but parallel growths of who we are. Our turning away from “career”, “ambition”, plans and goals very early on, to more immediate living of our lives. Al deciding that he did not want to be an electrical engineer, but instead applying his knowledge and genius to his love of computers, after discharge from the Air Force, and taking a field tech job with Burroughs, much sought after by the local office. My epiphany came earlier, my sophomore year in college, when I asked my organic chemistry teacher to help me find a way to explain to my parents that I had no desire to spend my years doing research in a corporate laboratory, but instead absorb the humanities. No goal but learning how to learn and continuing to do so and expand, not narrow my experience of and involvement in the immediacy of the world. As our own lives become more intimate with old age, they do not become less rich. They gravitate toward each other and toward the many activities and interests that still are well within our reach. Al’s family is long-lived, barring illnesses. His mother died only a few years ago, enjoying life until perhaps the quick decline during the last few months. My father’s still living independently, pursuing quiet interests and activities at age 99. I expect that I am more like my mother and will start to fail more rapidly as I approach my 90s.

And so, as we have already been using our parents’ lives as general guidelines, we continue the process of shedding what no longer works, expanding into new interests and activities and relationships that are closer matches to who we are now and are becoming. Discarding personal possessions that have become burdens. Spending more time with/on our latest pair of dogs. It is much more difficult to housebreak and see to two puppies at once, rather than having an older dog to mentor the incoming puppy!

A more recent change, also, is the return to waking in the middle of the night and writing, returning to sleep, and then taking a nap in the late afternoon. Which I now will do, since I have to get up at eight o’clock to out and feed the puppies.