CHAPTER 40 Setting The Example

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith  All rights reserved.

"My tears fall as pearls to the barren wood floor."


We got Mom dressed and loaded her up in the car for the Doctor's. Since she was so skinny these days, and it was cold, we had to pile on a lot more layers of clothing. Well, and the car we had didn't have air conditioning or heat. Sometimes we had to cross our fingers that our only means of transportation would get us down the hill and back home again. Not kidding.

The car didn't have much in the way of cushioned seats either. So all the bumps hit Mom a lot harder, with her practically zero body fat. She'd be laying down on her back or side. trying to be comfortable. But it wasn't comfortable at all.

Mom would yell from the backseat at regular intervals to Dad, "Careful sweetheart!"

Dr. Nestor noticed a big improvement in Mom at our visit. He was very pleased with her progress.

"The dizziness she's experiencing is too much potassium," Dr. Nestor told us.

So, we were supposed to cut down a little on her potassium dosage.

Dr. Nestor told Dad, "The whole practice is so impressed with you and your daughter and the care of your wife. You've set an example for us."

I never knew what to say when Dad told me this type of stuff. I didn't think what we were doing was that abnormal.

Isn't this what you did when you loved someone?

You showed up?

Period. Not partly showed up. Not showed up only when you felt like it. Not only when the wind was right. Or you had the perfect outfit. Or had a good day. Or were appreciated and acknowledged for it.

I don't think I knew how NOT to show up for the people I cared about.

But apparently, according to one hospital, one care facility, and two Doctor's offices, this was not the norm. Normal didn't do this. Normal didn't love like this. Normal didn't show up to this extent.

When my Grandfather was sick, Mom had flown out to spend three weeks with her Father. My Grandmother wanted a break from caring for him to visit family and friends. I don't know how my Mom did it. I don't know how she dealt with his abusive behavior and his Alzheimer's. But she did.

When my Grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, my Mom moved herself and her husband across the country so she could be closer to her Mother. She wanted to be there. There wasn't much discussion about it. Mom was like that. She had a brutal Take-No-Prisoners personality when it came to things or people she cared about.

One year in college I was having a rough time physically. I was dealing with the effects of the morning after pill (aka Plan B) during spring break because of a broken condom. I was completely alone. My male "friend" had basically baled, both financially and support wise. The cramps were so intense I couldn't drive but I still had to walk my dog. I didn't expect my "friend" to bring me flowers or give me foot massages. But he didn't even call to check on me or find out if I needed anything.

I called Mom. She heard the struggle in my voice and jumped on a plane. I didn't even ask her to. But she did it because that's who she was and that's how much she cared about me.

When my Dad kept complaining about having to buy his own bullets for his U.S. Army Reserves weekend duty, Mom drafted a letter to the President of The United States of America. She put the letter in the mail along with copies to the military chains of command. Then the shit hit the fan all up and down the flag pole.

That's not normal. But it was her normal. She showed up for the people she loved, without question. She did the unthinkable, things most people would never dream of doing, and she didn't give a fuck when she did it. She was fearless like that when it came to things she believed in and was passionate, or pissed off about.

Dad left me in the hallway of the Doctor's office with Mom while he went to the receptionist desk to settle up with our bill and next appointment.

"How old is your Mom," the receptionist asked.

"My Mom? She's not my Mom. She's my wife." Dad replied.

"Oh!" said the receptionist.

"And that's my daughter," Dad said.

"We all watch how you are with your wife. It's beautiful. You've set such a beautiful example for us all here at the office," the receptionist said.

All these people around, watching us. We didn't even realize it because we were too busy getting our asses handed to us at home. There was nothing beautiful about the daily beat downs.

Juice Day 44

4 collard greens leaves

2 apples

1 pomegranate

1 tablespoon ginger root

4 red leaf lettuce leaves

4 carrots

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