Privilege Blog

Can’t Even Come Up With A Title, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:44am

Just sitting here on the sofa, listening to the Pandora Worldbeat station. Vaguely-Argentine guitar played by a guy named Johannes Linstead. I thought he might be Swedish, given the name, but no. Canadian.

I watch my hands, the veins that run between my knuckles are rising. Age. I’ll be 60 in September – I look forward to new adventures.

Although California’s in a heat wave, our marine layer persists. The sky is overcast, as of 8:24am. The night was cool, you can feel it still. The garden wet from the sprinklers that ran last night at 5pm; it was too hot to cook. I ate paté on sourdough, salsa and chips, some of a chocolate cupcake, an apple past its time. Drank old California cabernet, grown, originally, I suppose, from French vines.

Paris flooded. All safety to the beauty and the people.


I may be worrying some of you exceptionally nice people. I’m OK. Just tired from continuing issues with my mother’s care, and unable to muster concepts. I wish I had more to give you, but I’d rather write than not. Thanks for your forbearance.

You know what felt good? I walked outside without shoes, and a little piece of gravel stuck between the sole of my foot and the concrete path. I laughed. I gave my roses extra water, a crow landed nearby.

All the best for your weekend and beyond.


62 Responses

  1. Dear One,
    You are caring for you, best you can, in this season. Sustenance and rest and wine. All good. Two nights before my mother died, I wrapped myself In a blanket and stared out the window all night. I was trying to cope with what was to come. It was all I could do at that moment. I pray you give yourself grace. You are in a space by yourself, but you are not alone.

  2. All the best Lisa-you couldn’t know how well I understand the feelings.

  3. First of all, I enjoy your musings. Stream of conciousness and all that. Secondly, you owe us nothing. I see your posts as a generous gift to your blog community.

    Having been where you are, I understand. This is a very difficult and heart-wrenching time. Do your best and try not to obsess about what you can’t do.

    Here’s to a peaceful weekend, dear Lisa.

  4. Dear Lisa,

    I am not worrying for you- I hear a raw, melancholy and singular voice that is facing very tough times, with grace, intelligence and compassion. I am swimming in the seas of loss myself and find your voice a comfort, across the oceans ( literal and figurative). Neither of us our drowning, only finding our way. You are doing a good job, I can tell.

    1. @Leigh Ann,

      A very good job. I can tell too.

      Reality is a series of gasps, raised eyebrows, controlled deep breaths, and then you carry on.

    2. @Leigh Ann, I am very sorry you are also lost in loss. I hope you are not having to fight and grieve at the same time. I tear up when someone says I’m doing a job because what else can one do? I am sure you are doing a good job too.

  5. The marine layer is the oddest thing about California. You can be in the middle of a drought, but it’s cool and almost moist.

    1. @RoseAG, Yup! Fogfogfogfogfogfog. Gives us the best climate in the world. At least if we humanity would cease messing with it.

  6. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply be and enjoy small comforts. Both only children we dealt with one parent’s dementia and another’s undiagnosed absence seizures for several years at a distance. Similar to Rebecca I remember finding an empty airport waiting room and letting the feelings wash over me. It helped. Take care of yourself and let other people help as needed.

    1. @Lynn, Thank you. I am learning about the importance of making time for emptiness so that whatever’s been pushed back has time to come forward.

  7. I’ve learned that through all my losses in this lifetime, I’ve had certain regrets of not doing something with them or saying something to them while they were still here with us. Now I make sure and try to live with no regrets. It’s a constant state of reminder but an amazing way to be.

    1. @Irene, It is a chance to atone, redeem, fill a virtue gap I’ve long held onto. To live going forward without regrets, that, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do given my makeup. But it sounds beautiful.

  8. Echoing the words of previous, lovely commentators, Lisa.

    You are always a reassuring and wise presence in my blog reading world.

    Thinking of you and sending strength and deep breaths. May they provide you with calm and clarity too.

    SSG xxx

  9. One thing I learned from living through my parents dementia is that grief begins long before the moment of death; is a loss of their personhood, a loss of what could have been,a loss of all the moments you could have had and won’t. Grief must be given its due, there is no shortcut, and stiff upper lip doesn’t serve well. It is hard to grieve the loss of someone still alive, there is no ceremony, no ritual. Give yourself what you need as you still continue to do what you need to do.

    1. @Ellen, One time, after I’d visited her and driven back home, I sat on the sofa and sobbed as hard as humanly possible for 45 minutes. Completely surprised myself, and yet that moment has remained as something to guide me through all this.

  10. My mother just died at 93. 15 years ago she was in a major car accident and suffered, among other things, a traumatic brain injury. 5 years ago I had to move her out of her house and into a board and care facility, fortunately they are Hospice certified. The brain injury and then strokes gave her dementia.

    I lived the grief and the exhaustion for years. It was actually easier, in some ways, once she was in the home, I wasn’t responsible for her actual safety, but her decline steepened. I am an only child.

    Looking back, I can say that although my journey with my mother was hard, I feel blessed to have given without any reciprocal response. I also am thankful, that once immediate duties were taken care of I made an effort to continue living with those in my present, my husband, children and grandchildren. I still had a life, my mother was not my only close relationship, and I came to the realization that each of us handles a loved ones frail needs in a unique fashion.

    I am still working full-time as well. Life has been hard, but now I can move forward with no regrets.

    I too live on the California coast. It is foggy.

    Be well.

    1. @Cathy, Thank you. I find your story very comforting. Life does just go on, if we’re lucky, and if we’re lucky, we are surrounded by good close relationships.

  11. You’ve written a lovely poem about your evening, Lisa. So much underneath your simple facts and observations. No need to “give” any more.
    How I wish I were still teaching, I’d take this post to my writing students and ask them to “tell me about this woman.” I think I know at least some of what they’d say.

  12. Lisa, you are a kind and gentle soul. I think I told you my father passed away in January from dementia. It is hard to enjoy your own life when one of yours is slipping away. I did not live near him so I suffered tremendous guilt. This is just a hard time. My sister was close and suffered guilt because she thought she should do more. I think it is in our genes. As Ellen said, there is no shortcut through this. Pay now or pay later as they say, but feel you must. Just go with it and let it out. Maybe you could try setting aside an hour or two just for you (and husband too) and promise you will not think about other things but just enjoy the life you have. Life truly is for the living.

    1. @Denise, I am sorry about your dad, but also about you having felt guilt. No shortcut at all through this, and defining what is “good enough,” is so hard.

  13. (( hugs ))…keep enjoying simple pleasures each day. They are like the singular pearls that make up a lovely necklace. Beauty and sadness mingling.

  14. Dear Lisa, I am a “doer”. Most of the time I just push through any problems or obstacles. However, sometimes there are just too many problems and too many ways to go. Then I am paralyzed by all the options.

    Perhaps you are at that point? May I suggest one tactic that seems to help me get over the paralysis:
    1. Write down the 10 things that REALLY bother you. I like to put one each on an index card.
    2. Set aside the ones that you simply cannot change right now (by that I mean in the next week to a month).
    3. Draw a big X through the things that you will NEVER be able to change. (Neighbors who let their privacy fences die?) I like to tear mine up or burn them.
    4. From what is left, choose one or two that you have the time, money and energy to change in the next week to a month. This “clears the deck” and gives you something to focus on. The Index Card is where you list all the materials, people, phone calls, etc. that you need to line up to complete the project.

    Except for emergencies, focus on those one or two projects until they are done. Trust me. You will feel much better.

    Repeat the exercise whenever you feel overwhelmed.

    Naturally, take some time to have fun! Life is short and we should enjoy not just endure.

    And yes, chocolate helps.

    Hugs from Charlotte Des Fleurs

    1. @Charlotte Des Fleurs, Thank you for the advice and the methodology. Much appreciated.

      We are, due to circumstances we did not foresee, still in the emergency state. I am worn out, and finally in over my head. Time to call in the experts.

    2. @Charlotte Des Fleurs,

      “We are, due to circumstances we did not foresee, still in the emergency state. I am worn out, and finally in over my head. Time to call in the experts.”

      No words. Well, one round of praise for you and your siblings’ self awareness. If she could, your mother would thank you for all you’re doing, have done, and will continue to do until she and her house are comfortably settled. [And goodness knows, you’re probably seeing after her husband, as well.]

      Instagram is good for a sofa day. Indeed, Mrs. Blandings is seeking grill advice:

  15. THANK YOU for the post and the comments.
    Exactly what I needed right now.
    My mother ,almost 95, can’t walk any more because of hip problems.
    Has fallen and hurt herself several times.
    She is temporarily in “temporary care”.
    Longing for her home.
    No dementia.
    Which is actually extremely hard for her.
    Since she is 100% aware of her awful situation.
    I’m an only child trying to do my best to be there for my mother.
    All of you gave me comfort and strength.

    1. @Leso in Sweden, It must be so hard for your mother, wishing to be home, waiting and hoping to heal, needing help as she does. And for you, trying to be there for her, still needing to live your life. All my best to you.

  16. “I laughed. I gave my roses extra water, a crow landed nearby.”

    I’d say you did come up with something, and it’s beautiful. That’s your post right there. We don’t need anything more! XXX blessings and strength to you from Atlanta

  17. I believe you are handling this exceptionally well, and I admire your ability to do all this and still carry on with the blog. It inspires me. Thank you. Sending you much love and keeping you in my thoughts.

  18. This is a lovely post…. From the heart. I don’t comment often …. But to let you know how much I believe in you…… I have UNHURRIED signs all over my house and am trying to live that way…. Inspired by one of your posts…. You give so many GIFTS like that to all of your readers. Thank you.

  19. I’m so sorry. You are strong and brave, you give the world so much through your words and actions. I am grateful to be able to read your wonderful writing. As others have said, you owe us nothing <3

    1. @Danielle, Thank you. I’m also irritable and prone to blurting and owe you everything. Thank you for reminding me that we all are both our strengths and our challenges.

  20. Thanks for the heads up on worldbeat on Pandora. Loving it too!! How do you find what genres you can choose from? (poor English)Don’t care.

    1. @Denise, I just use the thumbs up and thumbs down. Then, if they play something I really like, I make a new station out of that particular artist.

  21. Your post is so moving, but it is clear that you’re depleted. I hope that you don’t feel a sense of obligation to post at any particular frequency. I hope that this is helping you. Sending you love.

    1. @Marie, good thought to mention we have no expectations of posting. I would understand if Lisa went away for months!

    2. @Marie, Thanks so much guys. I can’t post as often, but, for now it feels good to keep on going as much as I can. xox.

  22. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for a while now. Sending you positive vibes from Houston!

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