My baby sister’s been here and back (to Maryland) twice in the past month. My baby brother stayed here the whole month before heading home (to Germany) yesterday. We are nothing if not a global family. This is one of the reasons why we have frequent conference calls; we want to keep the family dynamic healthy.
But I’m going to tell you a true story, now, about the not-so-healthy side of my family: the laugh-in-the-face-of-adversity side; the morbid side. The shame-on-them side.
You’ll recall that Pop left this earth on the 12th of last month. We held the funeral on the 15th. The very next day, Mom took another one of her spills and wound up in the hospital. It was looking quite grim. I called Elizabeth from the hospital to give her an update on Mom’s condition. I also told Elizabeth that calling with updates would be an issue as the hospital doesn’t take kindly to people on cell phones while in triage. So we agreed that I would text.
That worked well for about two texts. Then I was asked to add Michael and Lisa to the group text. A bit later, I added my son Jeremy and his wife Kim to the group. Every time anything new happened…every time Mom’s blood pressure was taken…every time a doctor or nurse consulted, I texted.
So, what do you suppose the family text receivers did? Did they each find a mellow corner of my house to reflect on the awful situation at hand? Did they sit near their cell phones waiting for my every message? Did they hue or cry?
They all sat around the dining room table telling horribly bad jokes and laughing and drinking expensive German coffee and eating imported German chocolates which were piled high, photographed and sent to me so I would be tortured. Deep into the night, and thusly caffeine-fueled, they even created a little game: arraying their cell phones around the chocolates, they’d wait to see which of their phones would ring first, and grab it for the message. The winner would receive a bonus piece of chocolate.
This they did while I was laboring to remain awake at the hospital; while I advocated for my ailing mother; while I single-handedly kept her alive! Even Kim, the newest member of our family, who is not one to be rash; even Kim joined in this sad, sad affair. She and Jeremy offered swing dancing lessons in the living room. Everyone was having the time of their lives.
I am just sure there is a dark, dank corner in eternity for each member of my family, and extra gold for the floors of my mansion in the great beyond. In the meantime, I deserve all of your sympathy.
And when you come to visit me at my mansion, leave your jokes at the door.