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May 31, 2015: Heading Home

Now in the Portland airport, waiting for the evening flight to Anchorage to board. It was a very easy check in – no line at the counter – and there actually was a counter clerk. TSA stuff went just fine. Seems like people who live in Portland are very happy, and the airport workers are no exception to the rule. Even though this is as good as it gets, I will breathe one sigh of relief when I disembark the plane and another when I see Pete. I don’t like to fly – I begin fretting about it days in advance.

It was a very good trip; like the first one, there were absolutely no travel glitches. I am amazed that I pulled the whole scenario off. I went to California twice for centered riding instructor training, and also spent time in WA and OR. When I

first considered doing all this, it all seemed like an impossibility. Pete helped me make it happen.

There will be at least one crying child on this plane. I see him, and I hear him. I don’t understand why people insist on subjecting kids to this kind of travel. I also don’t see sedating them beyond the realm of possibility. A bit of valium in the milk would go a long ways.

The hardest part of my two part trip was the last leg. I caught the tail end of my mother’s transition from her move from her own place to an assisted living facility. This was really hard on Eleanor, and this is an understatement. I don’t think El thinks I fully understand, but I do because we are family. I will spare the details, but I am amazed that El emerged from this okay.

There was considerable uncertainty involved. There was a point in time when both she and my mother were unsure where she’d end up. And my mother kept having mini-strokes. El calls them spells. She determined that the best place to take our mother when this happened was to her own place. Apparently they give people with strokes drugs that lead to further brain degeneration. As it is, my mother has had short term memory loss. For example, her recollections of her trip to Alaska several years back are gone. And she will ask the same question repeatedly.

El appeared to me to be very, very tired. Both she and mother appeared to me to be over the hump, and both are now recharging their mental and physical batteries. The worst part for both us daughters is that my mother’s move to assisted living is yet another life passage, and the beginning of perhaps the last. I can only wonder, how do other siblings deal?

El has had to deal with all the physical and emotional trauma, all the while continuing to teach in a school district where there are a multitude of troubled children. I just cannot imagine. It makes the prospect of having to spend a three hour plane ride with one crying child a rather trivial matter.

During my stay in Portland I was upbeat, chipper, and very positive. I did not say anything that I’d regret to either my mother or sister, because as I’ve said previously, I don’t kick people when they’re down And I don’t kick people when they’re struggling to get back on their feet.

I watched as El tended to Mother for four days. She watches her like a hawk, making sure that she’s okay mentally and physically. This is something that I could only do minimally. For instance, yesterday we went to the thrift store in McMinnville, a very long drive, and El assisted mother in selecting clothing. After a bit I wandered off because I was getting bored. I could not imagine my having to do what El was doing. Heck, I can hardly shop for myself. Does this make me less of a human being? The answer is yes. To care for someone the way my sister cares for my mother is what makes her human. This is what those like Saint Theresa advocated. (An aside, my mother once heard St. Theresa speak – she was not impressed because as she said, her stance on virginity was outdated).

I am babbling because I can’t fully describe why or what it is that I lack and Eleanor has. I am a very selfish person, and in not caring for my mother to the degree she is, am missing out on something major in life. I’m in essence a lesser human being.

I will be going back down to Portland in the very near future. The best I can do is be like I was on this trip, that is cheerful, upbeat, helpful. This is not a tall order. It is just what’s meant to be.

Next: 135. 6/1/15: Moving Forward

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