Daily Archives: January 26, 2012

Losing hope

I feel as if I’ve been struggling to drag a huge shapeless bag – full of water maybe, so that when you try to coax it over an obstacle it just slumps into a different awkward shape – and getting nowhere at all, painfully.

Now I’ve lost hope. I can’t fix my mother. I can’t make her happy¬† or healthy or make her days full of interest and enjoyment. I can’t make her young again.

What can I do? I can visit her every week or two (mostly with my excellent husband; thank you, Paul, for patience and driving, a hundred miles out and another hundred home again) and buy groceries and take her to the bank and make sure she pays bills and pick up prescriptions and organize her pills so she knows which ones to take each day. I can phone her, three times a day, in the morning to order her to take her morning pills, in the afternoon to chat so she doesn’t go day after day with no human contact, in the evening to tell her to take her night pills right now. I can remind her when she has doctor’s appointments. In between, I can go on with my life. I can’t fix her, and knowing that, it turns out that I can give up being guilty and fretful.

I’ll let that bag of water trickle away and concentrate on picking up one stick or stone at a time and putting it where it needs to be. Losing false hope; what a relief!

Stone 17, twenty-sixth day

Collingswood Farmers Market, January

Ghosts lurk here. This empty stretch of asphalt
underneath where trains rush clatterscreech to
stop in pale gray winter light, where people
huddled under coats all scurry, find their
cars, and flinch from cold of seats and steering
wheels. It’s only been six months ago –
long tables heaped with orange and green and
red and purple – peppers lettuce basil
peaches corn tomatoes and cilantro –
outlined this place, and jostling in between
bare-armed and hot, an eager crowd of
shoppers and their dogs came hunting friends and fruit.
Come quickly, April, full of peas and rhubarb
Bring back our Saturdays beneath the trains.