This time I was on a mission.....my brother and I were getting my mother and Morris (her boyfriend of 20 years that you've read about in earlier posts) moved into Assisted Living......the same ALF that my brother's mother-in-law just moved into.
Morris is actually doing great. He's on a maintenance chemo schedule of every three weeks. He has been driving, preparing his own meals, paying his bills, creaming his poker buddies, etc. as if he were not 92 years old with stage four colon cancer. He has amazed family and doctors alike.
Remember when he met the guy in the checkout line at Publix (or was it Kroger?) who told him all would be well? We had a feeling that guy was an angel or something, and his prophesy certainly came true.
There is a marker number (ascertained from blood tests) that indicates the level of the disease. This particular marker should be 4 or 5 in a healthy adult. When Morris was diagnosed, his marker number was 186. YIKES!!!!!!! Morris decided to stop shaving (This is not nice to hear from a man of 92) until his number fell below 10. It's now around 12 and holding.
Morris is looking pretty darn scruffy. But when I hugged him goodbye a few days ago, I noticed how surprisingly soft and fuzzy his whiskers felt, so personal and warm. I hope he forgets to shave, no matter what. There's a new eccentric air about him that makes me feel cool being seen with him...a cross between Socrates and Santa Claus.....a hint of ancient wisdom cloaked in jolliness (cool-sounding word..."jolliness")
In spite of his progress, Morris is tired and was struggling to care for my mother along with himself. We all knew it was time for her to make the move from an adult apartment complex to AL. Morris graciously agreed to move along with her, making it easier on all of us to keep them together.
This is the third or fourth move I've described in this blog. They all have commonalities.......sorting, packing, losing, finding, losing again, giving away, wishing, regretting, remembering, and above all.....hoping. Hoping all the aforementioned things will be worth it. For my mother and Morris, hoping there is still a future waiting even though you're really old, and you're becoming feeble and dependent and you swore you'd never go to a "home". Hoping that life can still deal you a few good hands, even though the aces have long since disappeared from the deck. Believing it's not always the cards you hold, but your love of the game that makes it worth playing. A win or a loss......it's all about how your heart perceives it.
It's good to be back in St. Pete, though it was really cold last week. I've missed the yellow bungalow and the friends and routines that are defining my own destiny. More and more I'm realizing it isn't about where I am or what I do, but who I'm becoming, that will bring me into alignment with God's plan for me. The fruit of the Spirit, presented in Paul's letter to the Galatians .......love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control......are not dependent on anything except my willingness to be molded. .
I hope, like my mother and Morris, I can stay the course with grace and optimism in these next few unpredictable years. I know that life has a way of jumping out from behind a bush and scaring the bejeebers out of you. I hope that doesn't happen to me again, but ya never know. Sometimes it happens in an instant, and sometimes it just happens with the passage of time.