Lynne and I walked to my apartment under an umbrella able to shield parts of us from the cold rain. Lynne commented about the cold so I drove her back after our Wednesday movie night. She picked Dirty Dancing but didn’t like it, so we finally settled on WTA tennis in Europe. Uber Eats delivered a large healthy burrito for her and she ate every bite. She tried on clothes from her winter wardrobe and chose a black down jacket (“This is really nice.”) and a warm velvet vest (This is really nice.). She circled the apartment frequently wondering where she was until she saw Dad’s face, broke into a smile and put her arms around me. It wasn’t as smooth as I’d planned, but she had a good two hours out on the town.
She is blessed to have friends who also expand her experiences. Nancy messaged me on Sunday, Her presence was really good more engaged more verbal more physically aware she was dancing with us and she was having a blast twirling me around and she twirled and she danced like an Egyptian and she was even snapping her fingers to the beat. Email from Nancy whatever you’re doing is working well dad she is experiencing real life it felt like she was back for a while I’m not going to expect anything or need it to be that way I’m just resonating in the feeling of our spirits dancing together mingling with freedom and spontaneous joy.1
Last Friday night I talked with her about my son, her brother, the same way I would have talked with Karen. He is working with a therapist, (I am working with a different one), about grief with Mom and Lynne, and other issues. Lynne was his best friend growing up. She listened silently to me talk about him, pausing between sentences with her eyes focused on mine most of the time as we ate our fish and chips dinner. After dinner, she stood up at the end of the table and hesitated with a look of concern on her face. “Is he going to be OK?” I smiled broadly as I said yes,, because he is very pleased with his therapist. Her head nodded, her shoulders relaxed, and her smile returned. “Good.”
Harriett and Terry, neighbors at a time babies were arriving almost everywhere, visit Lynne Saturdays to be with her on walks to the school playfield or drive her down to Madison Park for iced tea and lemonade. Harriett messaged me to join her Starbucks for a “cuppa” last Friday. When I sat down she said “What do you need, Jim?” She knows caregiving from years of weekends driving to Portland to visit her dad who had Parkinson’s and dementia, and her Mom who cared for him. He appreciatedmost for caring for for his wife. “I mostly cared for my Mom.”
I confirmed I needed support to care for Lynne, for me. I treated myself to see Jesus Christ Superstar for a Sunday matinee. She said next time send out a note. Somebody might have wanted to see it. Duh. That would have been more fun. It takes a village to give deeply felt care, and our village is taking the time, for which I am deeply grateful.