Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the end of the "summer of suck"

...Or so I hope.

(Dave, I'm OK - I was just out of town visiting family and attending meetings. But thanks for the concern).

This has been a pretty dreadful summer in a lot of ways - lots of bad stuff happening to people around me, a few things happening to me, specifically.

I'm hoping that the new semester will make things better but sometimes it just seems that a period of time has lots of "sucky" occurrences - things that seem to test your faith or your equanimity or something.

One last thing I found out about in The Summer of Suck was when I went home to visit my parents. My mom informed me - probably because there was a chance they were going to be my "ride" home from the train station after my meetings - that my sister-in-law was having some problems.

Her parents have decided to split up.

It's a complicated and unfortunate situation but I guess in a nutshell, it's this: her mother has suffered off and on from what may be depression, or what may be bipolar disorder. (My brother, who has had some psychology classes as part of his minister's training, says it sounds like bipolar to him, but "who am I to know?")

She's on medications now. The medications seem to have improved her mood a lot, to the detriment of people around her, because they seem to have the side effect of removing her "social filter" - that thing that makes us not say things we MIGHT think, but realize are tactless or unhelpful to the other person.

Apparently she has become very hard to live with. Her husband regretfully took an apartment (in the same town) but informed her that he could not share a house with her any more unless she got counselling and looked into changing her meds.

(At one point, when she was visiting my brother and sis-in-law, she actually got my sister in law in TEARS - not an easy thing to do - claiming she thought my sister in law was a "failure." Now, my sister-in-law is a woman who:
1. Has a good and happy marriage (and has made my brother's life a happier one)
2. Has an active faith life
3. Has an interesting job that pays well and is of service to society
4. Has a number of good friends right around where she lives
5. Has a lot of hobbies and free time activities she enjoys (she is an avid gardener and does scrapbooking and reads a lot and takes part in "game nights" she and my brother have for their friends where they play board games or cards)
6. Has a family of in-laws who think she's a wonderful person and who love her a lot.

I'd kind of define that as being an ANTI-failure in my book, but whatever.)

So, C. (my sister-in-law) is now thrown into the situation of playing mediator, along with her younger brother (who is himself recently married and has two babies at home, one of whom is not in good health). Her older brother doesn't seem to want any part of the situation and is very angry at both his parents.

So this is really something C. doesn't need, and I'm kind of angry at the Universe on her behalf. (I know she'll come through it fine; my brother is very supportive as is her younger brother, and my parents are close enough in proximity to take a part in helping out if necessary).


Another item that could have been More Suck, but wasn't so much: when I was at my meetings, my mom called me Wednesday night. Her sister (my aunt), who is way up in years and has had a number of health problems (including successfully beating colon cancer) was in the hospital.

My mother sounded worried, and my mom generally isn't the worrier type.

So all the way home, I alternately prayed for my aunt and contemplated whether I would be able to arrange to return "home home" (to my house and the town where I live) a few days later if a funeral necessitated that.

Well, when I got off the train in my parents' town (turns out that my brother and sister in law didn't have to pick me up after all), my mom told me that my aunt was doing better. Part of it was that she had gotten severely dehydrated (her children are now looking for a different nursing home to move her to; she had not felt well for a while and apparently no one was sufficiently monitoring whether she was drinking enough water or not). My mom said she told her son, "It's so nice here [the hospital]. I wish I could just STAY here." That may be partly because they had her on a saline drip (and on oxygen) and she was feeling better; it might also be because the hospital is a lot closer to the town where she used to live and more people have been able to drop in to visit her and she's not so lonely.

(I hope when it gets to that point - if it gets to that point - my parents DON'T have to go into a nursing home; at least not one far from all the people they know. It must be kind of discouraging after having been an active person all your life to be stuck in what's essentially God's waiting room, especially if you're isolated and far away and don't get visitors often.)

At any rate, I'm glad to be HOME home - part of it is being back somewhere where I have a certain amount of control over things, part of it is not having to look forward to more travel. I like visiting my family, I like being new places, but I kind of abhor traveling to get there. Going by train is better than most methods (for me at least) but it's still kind of awful when things go wrong and you're stuck waiting somewhere and you don't know what's going to happen and you're tied to someone else's schedule. I think traveling ALONE is also probably worse than traveling with someone; there's no one to watch your suitcases if you have to go and pee, and there's no one you know well to talk to in the waiting rooms or on whatever conveyance you're on. I read a lot of mystery novels on the trip up to and back from my meetings.

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

Welcome back, Ricki. I have missed hearing from you.

I am sorry your summer has been so full of suck. 2008 has been pretty crappy all around for many people I know.

Fingers and toes crossed that it gets better for everyone.