Saturday, December 19, 2015

Nobody Puts Gershwin in the Corner


It’s done.

I’m risking a possible jinx here by saying this but, for now, the Dad crisis that has been all-consuming for the last 10 weeks is officially over and I can hopefully get some good sleep for a change.

At least tonight anyway.

Stupid Anxiety is an expert at finding any manner of Next Things to worry about so, at best, I suspect I’ll get a night or two of tranquility before I’m waking up at 2 a.m. chewing on something new.

But I’ve at least got tonight.

The last 10 days have been a whirlwind of urgency. Yannow, because the preceding 60 days weren’t quite urgent enough.

I found out Thursday evening of last week Dad would discharge from rehab - per the insurance company’s polite decline to pay for any additional days - on Wednesday. At the same time, I was informed his independent living community’s director had determined he was no longer sufficiently independent for independent living and would not be allowed to return to his apartment.

Surprisingly, I didn’t actually panic.

We - my siblings and I - had been told a week or so before by the rehab staff this was likely going to be the case and so we’d had an e-mail discussion about our options already.

  • Move him in with one of us.
  • Personally supplement his income for assisted living.

Fortunately, my brother and his wife stepped up and offered a room in their home about an hour away as a short term solution until we could find somewhere he could afford without requiring the rest of us to drain our own savings (risking our own future long term care needs) to pay for something outside his budget.

Which is so great! I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly grateful I am that they were both able and willing to open up their hearts and homes to, let’s just face it, an extremely cranky, bitter, negative old man.

Seriously.

It isn’t something I think I would have been able to do emotionally even if I could have done it physically (my home has all sorts of accessibility issues...namely lots and lots of stairs). He...just...yeah. His opinion of me is probably about as good as mine is of him.

Hard to believe, I know. Because you all think I’m all sorts of upstanding and spectacular and I would have to concur. However, he suspects I’m a weirdo drug dealing meth cooker. Because, yannow, I really like wearing black.

The purple streaks in my hair don’t help.

And still...he granted me Power of Attorney and signing privileges on his checking account..

[insert maniacal laughter here...I’m kidding...sorta]

Totally not my point.

What was my point?

Hold on. Let me look.

Oh! Oh yeah! I hadn’t quite gotten to the point yet. Gershwin.

So anyway!

Yeah. We - my siblings and I - made the determination that Dad would go to my brother’s house at discharge.

But…

That also meant in just five very short days we had to figure out what to do with all of his stuff. And he has a lot of stuff. Stuff that, frankly, no one but him really gives a shit about.

What did he want with him (aside from everything)?

What did he need with him?

Where would we put everything else?

We figured it out - not helped even one tiny bit by a rare dumping of a foot of snow over the front range on Tuesday - and put the plan into action.

U-Haul rented.
Friends enlisted.
Storage found.
Packers/movers procured.

It was crazy, let me tell you. But we made it happen. Everything - mostly - fell into place.

And then…

Wednesday afternoon, after work, I went to his apartment to meet with the senior services moving company I’d hired to help to do a walk through/assessment/cataloging of his belongings so they could give me a fair estimate of the cost to pack and move most of his material life into storage.

“That goes to Loveland.”

“That goes to storage.”

“Loveland.”

“Storage.”

Until the end.

When we were standing in the living room, just finished with the tour, I spied him.

George.

Face eternally uplifted, a cigar chomped in his mouth. The bust of George Gershwin, created by an prominent Wyoming artist, my mother had gifted my dad decades before, years before their marriage dissolved - the occasion long ago lost.

A visceral, emotional, irrational reaction happened deep inside me. I cannot explain it. All I can say is that, in my head and heart, I knew, “Nobody puts George in storage”.

I picked him up and set him by my purse.

“This goes with me.”

I wasn’t cherry picking.

I have no idea of that piece of art’s worth.

Honestly, I don’t care.

I’ve told my brother and sisters that I took it. I’ve told them if they want it to just let me know.
I just...I couldn’t bear seeing it go into a 10’x10’ storage unit.

Like my dad.

And all the rest of his stuff.

George just hangin' out on my mantel. 

1 comment:

Teresa said...

You. I absolutely love.