|Wild Horses Statue, Providence, RI|
Yeah, that didn't happen. Not even close.
Nope, let's start again.
This has been the weirdest summer of my entire 47.5 years of life. I sort of feel like I'm in the middle of that groovy statue I got to photograph in Providence - only the horses are real and in motion, and if I don't watch out I'm going to get trampled.
Over the summer, I wasn't watching out, and I was most certainly trampled. Ciaragh was back home, and I was settling into my regular summer routine of freelance interpreting, planning for upcoming faires, and writing as much as I could whenever I could. The final draft of the second Clobberpaws book was starting to sit up and pay attention. The first novel in the Forest Wars saga was being actively edited for the...I don't know, umpteenth time, and was on track for publication at the end of July.
And then, my sister took my mother up to see my dad's grave on what would have been his birthday. And then there was the night about four days later that I was talking to my mother on the phone and she was slurring her words and was very confused. I rang my sister who went over there, spent the night there, and then took Mom to Emory the next day to see the doctor.
From there, she was fast-tracked into the unit that treats stroke patients, only she hadn't had a stroke. There was no evidence at all of a stroke. And then she had a seizure and slept for about five days - as one does when one is 86 and has a massive seizure. Her advance directive said no life-prolonging measures - no feeding tubes, etc. And then she was on the hospice unit for something like three weeks, so because nothing was happening, they discharged her to her home, where she died about two weeks-ish later.
Now, none of that is about me. It's nothing to do with me. But the aftermath is everything to do with me, my sister, and our families. I spent a good day after Mom died wondering if I was an orphan now. Is that something that only applies to children? More time than was probably necessary was devoted to wondering what would happen to my sister and me - we had been texting all day almost every day since that fateful phone call because I am a state away from them. Now that the crisis time was over, would we fade back into our typical roles, only communicating now and then?
So here I am, a month and two days from waking up to a phone call from my sister that Mom had passed in her sleep, and I'm still wondering. Still waiting. Still an orphan - I decided I wanted to own that, so I did. Still struggling to find someone to talk to on long days at home or long car rides when I usually would call Mom. Still not quite able to listen to the stack of voice mails from her still on my phone - recordings that underscore what a neglectful daughter I am for not visiting her more often.
Here I am, with a book about to launch in a week's time, a "First Page Critique" away to the folks running the writer's conference in September that I will be attending (in the hopes that it will be chosen to be anonymously ripped to bits by a panel of literary agents), and a big signing event in the works for November.
Here I am, suddenly winning at being a writer for at least a few minutes, and the number one person I want to tell isn't here. I hope she knows. I hope she is pleased. I hope she is proud.