This group of quotes for Gma’s birthday book does not need any explanation from me.
There are more quotes to come of course – from some of the bigger ‘kids’ – but I will save those for tomorrow night after the boat cruise. Suffice it to say that these children’s words, enclosed in her book (and rather brilliantly photographed by me – ha!) have culminated in the most beautiful, mutual, unshakable hug of family.
Oh, I can’t resist: here is Jared’s (Meg’s second grandchild):
Doctors do not like to be called into nursing homes on weekends so it was with some trepidation that the nurse-in-charge called the doctor-on-call last Sunday. It was the second day that Anthony had been in bed having suffered two falls. His blood pressure was very low, he was moaning with pain from constipation (a constant problem with Parkinson’s disease) and was extremely incoherent. I was very sad because it gave me a glimpse of what he would look like on his deathbed and I couldn’t seem to get rid of that thought.
After ringing the doctor, the nurse came in and told me he was coming but not happily and had hung up on her, so I was prepared for a bit of unpleasantness and was not disappointed! He strode in with the nurse, on his face a grimace of impatience, and shot questions at us none of which we could answer with any accuracy, which made him even angrier.
“Can he talk?” he snapped at me.
“Yes, well, usually, but not for the last couple of days,” I said. “You could try I guess ….”
“Mr Goyder?” he barked at Anthony.
“Ants, the doctor is asking you a question,” I coaxed.
Anthony looked at the doctor.
“How do you feel?” asked the doctor.
Without the slightest hesitation, Anthony said, “Most of the time, I feel very good, thank you.”
The nurse and I shared a jawdrop, then I cracked up laughing so hard that the doctor’s expression softened.
“You will feel you are here under false pretenses!” I gasped.
A few minutes later, after ordering blood tests and sending a report to our usual doctor (who is never angry!) the angry doctor spoke kindly to me, apologized to the nurse and left, after which she and I shared another laugh.
Anthony then lapsed back into incoherence except to say, “What a lovely man!”
I have never been very good at interpreting cryptic messages of any kind so, when one of my many nephews sent me this message for the Grandma book, I didn’t know what to make of it:
“When i was younger and used to stay over i would always look forward to gma reading me ‘would you rather…’. Hopefully she remembers it haha.”
I messaged him to confirm the wording and when he said okay, I added his mysterious quote to the book:
Meg didn’t understand this message either until, suddenly, last night, she remembered the exact storybook and even found it! So she is going to bring it on the cruise to read again to the now-adult little boy who loved it so much.
Okay so today is my mother’s 80th birthday and nobody can believe she is that great age because she looks so young. We met up at the nursing home at 11am so that Anthony and I could give her ‘the book’ together and (sigh of relief) Meg loved it, despite its falling apart with messy fullness! Then we went out for lunch with a sprinkling of special people with the surprise star being Meg’s first great-grandchild who has just turned 1.
On Saturday we have the party, a 2-hour boat cruise which is just family because, if we had to include friends, it would have entailed a ship!
All of the grandchildren wrote something for Grandma to be included in the birthday book and here is what I did with Ashtyn’s words:
Ashtyn is Meg’s first grandchild, my fantastic first niece, my god-daughter, Ming’s godmother and, in so many other ways, the star of the family. She and Meg are very much alike in that their presence at any occasion elicits a lot of attention because they are both so beautiful!
So, Mama, you are now 80 +
Note: I will CHANGE the subject tomorrow!
It is our mother’s 80th birthday tomorrow and my sense of anticipation is strangely acute especially now that the book I was hand-making for her – its pages filled with photos and quotes and memories – has, on being heat-bound for the second time, begun to fall apart – argh!
The printer/binder people have been very honest with me in twice saying, “This book is the thickest book we’ve ever bound and we had to place all of the pages between two very heavy objects for it to seal.” These lovely people have seen our love for Meg firsthand and have actually recognized some of the kids in the photos.
One of the reasons the book has become so unwieldy is because, every time I made a mistake, I just glued things together so the faulty page was underneath the good page. Then I tried to cover the smudges with stickers and I got really carried away here with channeling the kids – 11 grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and the anticipation of the next one!
So the book is my first/last attempt at being artistic, but I have never had so much fun! Plus I like the fact that underneath/behind each page of this book is a slightly different layer to the story of who our mother/grandma IS!
In adding the final touches tonight, the whole book begins to fall apart and Ming’s feedback indicates that it is all a bit ‘twee’ so, in defiance, I open up all of the sticker packages and paste hearts and gifts and love on every single page of what we have called ….
The Map of Meg
Her extra gift (shhhh!) is a roll of sticky tape!
Yesterday was a bit weird because when I arrived at the nursing home, Ants had put himself back to bed and, for the rest of the day was kind of sleepy/disoriented. Then, last night, they phoned me to say he had fallen. This morning, again, another phone-call to say he’d had another fall and they wanted to keep him in bed.
So today is the second day of Anthony being bed-ridden and a bit of a shock for me. I am sure this is just a little glitch and that he will get out of bed again and walk/smile/anything, but, on the other hand, maybe not. To witness his staring-at-the-ceiling eyes, his incoherence, his inability to squeeze my hand back, was a little scary and upsetting for me but probably a good dress rehearsal for when he dies. I accidentally collapsed into tears today with various staff which was really embarrassing because I never see my own stupid tears coming; they just do this sudden thing.
It was my blog friend, Trisha, who introduced me to the idea of Zentangle drawing. I am hopelessly trying to find her exact post but in the meantime here is the link to her blog:
Anyway, I got a bit into it because (a) I’m not a bit keen on artsy/crafty stuff so I thought it might be good for me; and (b) I needed something to do with Ants in the nursing home, other than watching television.
So, a few weeks ago, I started to do this drawing thing and LOVED IT! Anthony was a bit patronizing though – “Yes, I used to do this when I was 5″ (he is so good at sarcasm!), but I ignored his characteristic bumpetyness and drew another circle.
The colouring in is a bit of a buzz, especially now that I have gone to a proper art shop and bought good quality colored pens. I have now done two pictures for Ants which, if you put them on the far wall, and squint your eyes a bit, look a tiny bit like art.
Obviously this colouring in tendency has leaked into my mother’s 80th birthday book so I hope she won’t be too appalled!
I have become an artist! Yes, I have sacrificed my loathing of glue, textas and cardboard to create this book for Meg.
Each page of our mother’s 80th birthday book is covered in smudges, ink lines, childish coloring in of edges (me) grandchildren’s quotes, stark photos, and the gooey glue of love.
I got the book bound last week then thought of other stuff to include – argh!
One of the most beautiful and poignant off-shoots of this ‘project’ is to read and re-read our mother’s journal of our childhood. The humor and hilarity is contagious and the love of a mother and grandmother and great-grandmother is oceanic, a purring, imperfect, enormous wave!
Okay, back to the glue~
Asthma nearly gone now (and panic!) Sorry I haven’t replied to comments of goodwill but I appreciate it. Not sure now why I got so scared but probably something to do with the fact that I am responsible for everything now.
I can’t wait to see Anthony tomorrow; I will spend the whole day there. His nephew, my mother and Ming and my brother and co. have visited him but I haven’t seen him for 4 days, and he sounded so miserable on the phone tonight when I finally got a nurse to answer it for him.
ps. can’t be bothered with tags etc.
I have been fluey for a couple of weeks; then on weekend it turned into what I now call ‘spring asthma’. I think this is the fourth year it has happened, after decades of being free of asthma.
As a child I had it chronically and remember vividly all of the emergency dashes to hospital, the adrenaline injections, the oxygen tents, my mother squeezing my toe.
I am very good at dealing with other people’s illnesses but when it comes to me I wimp out and get terrified, beyond reason (although asthma is terrifying). Ming hates it if I get sick, so much so that he withdraws and I understand this since so much of his life has already been shadowed by Anthony’s many illnesses.
Even though I am on the mend now with the help of antibiotics and steroids and can breathe better, I am still scared and seem to have landed in a place of dense gloom. But, at the same time, my admiration for people who are chronically ill smacks me in the face when I realize that I will get better easily, and they might not.
To cope with being sick, or afflicted in terms of sight and other senses, in an ongoing way, is something that awes me. I would not be as strong as the people I know (via daily interactions and blog contacts).
So, as soon as I am not sick anymore, I will get back on my bike, and write about Anthony and stop dillydallying around with impossible goals….
…. and catch up with blogs!