It was a quiet Sunday, but a little more progress was made. Mom slept hard and long, and had a big breakfast.
We went to Piedmont Place’s church and a message of exhortation and encouragement preached by a black Southern Baptist linebacker with brown patent leather shoes at least four inches longer than his already big feet. He basically sang his message punctuating his phrases with “ha.” It was fun, his heart was good, and Mom slept through most of it.
After a short walk, we spent time in the garden before lunch. Up till now, Mom has been eating in her room. Today she made the big leap to the dining room for lunch (but not dinner). Progress.
She told Elizabeth by phone that she is feeling better about this place and felt she could last the 20 days or so. More progress.
So let’s spend some time talking about Pop. There’s a saying from when I was a kid: “You don’t know how to act.” Just like us all, Pop is a many-layered creature whose most visible layer, his outward personality, has always been crusty, curmudgeonly, mean, inconsiderate. I’m not being critical of him; just observant.
George says of Pop that there’s a good heart in him, but that he doesn’t know how to act. For the purpose of this dissertation, let’s assume that George is right (as he has been so many times before).
I’ve had several conversations with Pop. He is self-focused, depressed and, I think, concerned (maybe fearful) about how the future will play out. There’s a dark cloud around every silver lining. There are no expressions of love or concern for Mom.
But there is another dimension. At the hospital the other day, I was waiting for test results at the nurses station opposite Mom’s room door. I glanced into the room every couple minutes to monitor their interaction. There was none. But once I caught Pop gently caressing Mom’s forehead. And when we left a few minutes later, he leaned down to kiss her. I think I heard her say, “I appreciate that.”
I am not qualified to analyze their relationship (heck, I can barely keep up with my own). Pop remains ever distant, unhappy and critical of her. Mom may be reaching the end of her tolerance of his behavior.
I wish I had some wise conclusion; some forward thinking strategic solution. But M&P are grownups and they get to screw up their lives as they see fit.
Don’t blame me…I’m just the messenger.
BTW…Teddy is not only a girl; she’s also Chinese. We know this because she has a little tag sewn to her butt.