Since today was one of Will’s ‘good’ days, we decided to take up our daughter’s invitation to go out to her home for a visit and a good meal. She is a proud stay-at-home mom with mad skills in the kitchen who can turn an ordinary chicken dinner into a culinary experience fit for an upscale restaurant. She is also as wise as any thirty-year-old has a right to be, and while Will was outside with our grandsons, she and I had some good honest talk about what we’re all facing.
As always, she is realistic about what she sees, and what she sees is even more stark than what I see. Her father has changed greatly in the two weeks since the last time we had dinner together, and she knows as well as I do that he’s not long for this world. And as always, she is bearing up well, because what that child has to stand, she can stand.
She’s had to stand so much already. She grew up in what amounted to semi-controlled chaos with an alcoholic, bipolar mother; she was given too much responsibility at too young an age; and she’s lived in poverty for her entire adult life. But she’s a good woman, and more than that, she’s a happy woman, and her vision of life holds more clarity than that of many people twice her age.
So we talked about the future and what it may hold, and after giving her my evaluation of Will’s condition, I made her the same promise that I made to him—namely, that I won’t do anything stupid…..and if I feel like I might, I’ll get immediate help.
But true to her nature, she looked at me with her no-bullshit expression and said, “I’m glad to hear that, Mom. The only problem is, you’re not always aware of when you’re going too low or too high, and that’s what we worry about.”
She was, of course, dead right (no pun intended). Sure, it’s relatively easy for me to say this now, before I have to face that first night all alone. It’s also too easy to forget that I’ve been in balance for only a short time, and that losing Will is potentially destabilizing no matter how good my medication regimen is. It’s not an inevitability, but I’d be foolish not to recognize the danger.
So, as much as I don’t want to waste my p-doc’s time, I should probably chat with him at some point before my appointment in September and see what, if anything, I need to do to get through the coming days and weeks without going off the deep end. I haven’t called yet, honestly, because there’s nothing he can do for me medically —my illness is under control, and this situation isn’t pathological. (It just sucks, is all.) Besides, I don’t know the etiquette for times like this: I mean, what am I supposed to say when I go in there? “Hi, Doc, I came to see you because there’s nothing wrong with me other than the fact that my husband is dying”??
Still, there was this look in my daughter’s eyes when I told her, half-jokingly, that when I swerved to miss an animal yesterday and almost ran off the road at 60 MPH, my first thought was that the kids would think I did it on purpose. She didn’t find this even a bit humorous, and indeed admitted that it’s what they would think if something were to happen to me.
Which it won’t. I promise.