Thoughts In The Middle Of The Night

 

 

It is true what they say – as you get older, you progress from a child to the parent of your own children, and then one day you find yourself parenting your parents as their bodies and minds become frailer.

My mother is at that stage now – her body is becoming weaker due to the ravages of cancer.  She has done well up to this point, but she fell at home last week and was unable to get back up – her legs would not support her any more.  She is now in a hospital bed at an assisted living facility, and she will probably not ever be leaving that bed.

Four years ago, she was the one helping me when I found myself confined to a hospital bed for two months following intestinal surgery.  I now find myself drawing on that experience to give her suggestions on how best to reposition herself to find a comfortable place to rest.

I remember how utterly exhausting it was just to turn over in bed, and how many “steps” it took to do something that I had done almost mindlessly before the surgery.  I find myself uniquely qualified to empathize and to help her get from point A to point B.

The major difference between then and now is that I was on the road to recovery, while she is on a decline.  She is finding it harder and harder to do things.

I had forgotten how hard it is to THINK when you are laid low by disease – so much energy is spent just thinking about how to do the most basic of movements.  By the end of the day, there isn’t any juice left to make decisions; you quite literally find yourself telling others to just do whatever they think is best.  It’s very frustrating.

I remember how incredibly comforting it was to know that my mom was going to be there in that hospital room with me every day; that everything was going to be okay, and that she would be able to get me the things that I needed.  I remember how utterly lost I felt when she had to go back home after so many weeks by my side, and how she stayed an extra week because both of us instinctively knew that was what I needed.

And I know that I will now be able to provide that peace of mind and spirit for her, for as long as she needs it.

I know that our time together is coming to an end.  I see her looking off into space, and I can tell that it is “different” from ordinary daydreaming.  She told me yesterday after one of her naps that she thought that she had passed over to the other side.

I know that she is slipping away, and I am so very thankful that I can be with her on the final leg of her journey.

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The Story So Far

Mom has finally(!) given me permission to tell everyone what is going on.

Last August, she was given a diagnosis of Stage 4 (metastatic/terminal) lung cancer which had already spread to her lymph nodes and bones. She decided not to undergo any further treatment, choosing instead to enjoy whatever time she had left.

We have been fortunate that she has had six relatively good months since her diagnosis, but her body is starting to tell us that the end is near. Mom was moved to an assisted living facility last week, and we are in the process of enlisting hospice care for her. Paul and Sarah are holding down the fort at home in Texas so that I can concentrate on caring for both of my parents on the final leg of this journey.

I am currently staying with Mom 24/7 so that Dad can be free to take care of things in town and around the house, as well as getting some much-needed rest. Mom is comfortable right now, and I am cherishing every moment that we have left together.

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Bittersweet Moments

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When time is short, and you are blessed enough to be able to be there for the ones who have been there for you since the beginning of your life……

I am so thankful.

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The Best (Belated) Valentine’s Day Ever (a.k.a. “Boy Meets Girl”)

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Just a couple of kids…..

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It all started in a lecture hall at Texas A&M University in January, 1979. Yours truly was a freshman who started out in Pre-Med, but after one semester – and a tearful call home – I had decided to change my major to one which involved more math – Civil Engineering.

Well, the powers that be in the Engineering department told me that the Calculus class that I had placed out of as a Science major wasn’t really “the same as” the one they wanted Engineering majors to take, so I had to start all over again. I hadn’t changed my major until the spring semester started, so I missed the first “official” day of that class.

The next time that class met, I was sitting in a seat in the lecture hall, feeling quite lost since I didn’t know the professor’s name, office hours, etc. Some guy came in a little late to the class, looking all harried, and sat down in one of the few empty seats – right next to me.

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Valentine’s Day, 2020 – A Little Romance


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Because today is a day of romance, I thought I’d share one of the best renditions of “My Funny Valentine” that I’ve ever heard – Michelle Pfeiffer’s version from the movie “The Fabulous Baker Boys”:


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Hope you have a great day with the one you love!
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“Rhapsody in Blue” (2019)

rhapsody in blue 3.

Well, I went playing on YouTube again, and this time I ran across several versions of one of my favorite orchestral pieces, George Gershwin’s quintessentially classic American composition, “Rhapsody in Blue“.

Rhapsody in Blue premiered in an afternoon concert on February 12, 1924, held by Paul Whiteman and his band Palais Royal Orchestra, entitled An Experiment in Modern Music, which took place in Aeolian Hall in New York City. The version that was heard then was for a 24-piece jazz band, not for full orchestra. This was the original arrangement of Gershwin’s masterpiece.

Gershwin had agreed that Ferde Grofé, Whiteman’s pianist and chief arranger, was the key figure in enabling the piece to be successful, and critics have praised the orchestral colour. Grofé confirmed in 1938 that Gershwin did not have sufficient knowledge of orchestration in 1924. After the premiere, Grofé took the score and made new orchestrations in 1926 and 1942, each time for larger orchestras. Up until 1976, when Michael Tilson Thomas recorded the original jazz band version for the very first time, the 1942 version was the arrangement usually performed and recorded.

I, too, had only ever heard the big symphonic version but a few years ago, I ran across an amazing Big Band arrangement that brought a big smile to my face. And a couple of days later, I ran across the “original” jazz band version, which I found I like very, very much.

The complete piece is 16 minutes long, so if you don’t have time, don’t feel that you have to listen to all of them; you might want to sample a bit of each one and come back to them later when you have more time. I think you will probably find that, like me, you end up enjoying all of them on their own merits.

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Posted in Classical, Contemporary, I Love America, Just Because, Music | 1 Comment

Perceptions

Many years ago, when the girls were much younger, I ran across a wonderful book called “Many Moons” by James Thurber.  It is the story of a young princess who falls ill one day after a “surfeit of raspberry tarts”.  The Royal Physician sends for her father the King, who tells her that he will get her anything that her heart desires.  The princess tells the King that if she can have the moon, “I will be well again”.

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