Sunday, April 25, 2010

Up in the air

I used to hate flying: fear of death. Now, because I'm often flying to or from a catastrophe, I love it. I don't even mind the middle seat. The whole week I was at my parents' house, I looked forward to that ecstatic few hours when I would be free—free mostly of the fear that something would happen that would keep me there.

What with my sister-in-law's unsettled estate generating unexpected expenses, I get panic attacks about opening envelopes with a Massachusetts postmark. With my parents' failing health, I get panic attacks when I see the area code 415 in my caller i.d. And e-mail can bring bad news from both fronts. In the air, free from e-mail, snail mail and voicemail, I am unreachable.

(Sadly, my freedom was short-lived. I got home from San Francisco on Sunday at midnight. Tuesday my father had a fall, banged his head and generated such a bloodbath that the home-care agency called me at work. Somehow I wrassled my father into going to the VA emergency room, where they kept him till Friday. Somehow I failed to wrassle my mother into submission. I ordered full-time home care for her in my father's absence, and she canceled it. I ordered it again. She rebelled. Ach! How can I get any work done when the 'rents won't obey!)

When I was a child, I loved this poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. And it has a bit of the cut-loose feeling I have about flying now:

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!


Robin Amos Kahn said...

I think a visit to Friends In Deed might be worthwhile.

It sounds like it couldn't hurt. If there's anything I can do, a good movie (preferably a comedy), a dinner, you name it.

There's a workshop at FID on care-giving on May 13th, I believe, that might be worth going to. It's led by two favorites, Cynthia and Kate.

Love the poem. Glad you're home.

A said...

I'm sorry your father had a fall and that your mother is so incorrigible about letting herself be cared for. You're doing an extraordinary job in balancing too many tasks. I hope this horrific period of responsibilities will pass soon so that you can enjoy swinging in the pleasant blue air of your own life again.

Giovanna said...

I'm so sorry your father got wounded with his fall. I'm glad he's back home. I totally identify with the panic attacks triggered by the phone ringing and the email icon bouncing or not bouncing and the messages on the voice mail and more and more