Saturday, January 01, 2011

I'm still here ... !

... and after viewing the crystal ball drop over Times Square repeated ad nauseum (why is that anyway?) and a good night's sleep, I've risen to a new day and year and a calendar that would make any other woman of such advanced years envious in anticipation.   Besides, I'm a pushover for the Rose Parade, and this one is everything that the active child in me could wish for.

What other woman of my age is looking forward in the months ahead to ...

  • presenting a talk at the Oakland Main Library as a part of their Black History Month's observance;
  • another filming of one of my regular "Betty-led" bus tours of the scattered sites that form the Rosie the Riveter WWII/Home Front National Historical Park by World Trust Films;
  • a lecture before students and staff at Samuel Merritt -- the graduate school connected with Summit Medical Center in Oakland;
  • another before the students of Emeritus University in Pleasant Hill, California as their Women's History Month program;
  • a series of meetings and filmings now in the planning stages by Brigham Young University's nationally televised program, "The Generations Project", which if finalized, will take me back to uncover family history that has been elusive.  It would provide connections with ancestors back behind the slave curtain, and may involve travel and several weeks of production time both here and in Utah --plus wherever that history leads;
  • and, finally, during the week of May 14th, being celebrated as the recipient of this year's honorary doctorate by the California College of the Arts in San Francisco where I'll been invited to give the commencement address!
That's for starters.

I just don't see any time or space for being depressed, do you?  Besides, the fantasy of the BYU experience causing me to (after death) find myself wandering aimlessly -- halo leaning noticeably leftward -- as a displaced black UU illegal alien in a Mormon Heaven sends me into spasms of long suppressed giggles -- the ultimate defense against accumulated sadness.  And, wouldn't it be great if we could save up giggle energy like rollover minutes as insurance against the dark times?

Besides all that, Dorian is at this moment watching the Rose Parade emanating from Pasadena and as I watch her delighted expression, a kind of peace descends. Mental retardation has protected her from having the ability to project into that future that I'm so fearful of on her behalf and for that I'm so grateful.  I worry enough for us both. 

If we're lucky, her mother will be so busy dispatching life as it evolves that hovering over her  -- sending negative vibes -- or at least neutralizing them into some harmless form (as before), and her healing (now fully underway) will continue. Her life will be whatever that dreaded "unknown future" delivers despite my best efforts to see behind every obstacle along the "Road of Life."

Despite that formidable listing above, Life surely has its way of keeping even the most celebrated of us humble. And deserved or not -- I'm finding that I'm often now reaching out for "celebration" as a defense against the overwhelming unfairness that shows up clothed in that velvet cloak of realism gone deliciously and capriciously mad!  And, no, logic is no defense.

On this first morning of the new year, I'm feeling both -- celebrated and properly humble.  And, oddly enough -- lifted from the gloom of yesterday and looking forward to tomorrow with an eagerness that has been lost over the past several weeks of the Christmas blues entitled "Missing them.".

I'm back, guys!

Friday, December 31, 2010

The closing of the books on 2010 is with an Auld Lang Sigh of relief ... .

The year started with dealing with the after effects of Dorian's auto/pedestrian accident which happened on November 27th of 2009.  It was a devastating nightmare that resulted in badly fractured legs and the beginnings of two rounds of orthopedic surgery months apart (the second to correct the first) and 7 months of stays in 4 rehab facilities -- and ends with the two of us waiting for the New Year's confetti and noisemakers to kick in.  We're sitting before a fireplace, together, and grateful for having prevailed in the face of a troubling year.  But it's bitter sweet.

Dorian is not reflecting her mother's doubts and cynicism, and is blithely unaware of the costs of a year of travail.  She is simply glad to be sipping her cocoa and waiting for the sounds of celebration.  Would that this were also true of me.  Not so.  I'm still aware of a dip into depression that will be addressed when I've wrung all of the angst out of this one! 

I've lived long enough to know that this is cyclical; that this is the time of year when ancient Man created the Saturnalia to coax the sun our of hiding -- and that eons have not changed the needs for such.  I plan to start a promising calendar of events that are waiting for the turn of the decade to kick in, and that happy fact sits just behind the depression -- waiting to be expressed in the weeks to come.

But for now, I'm understanding how a mother might feel less comfortable leaving an adult/child in the world beyond their lifetimes ...  than wishing ... no, I won't go there ... but know that it is surely love that brings such thoughts into play -- even when such unspeakably dark images rise to prepare us for the dealing with our own mortality.  Repugnant though such thoughts may be; they need to be dealt with for the sake of preserving one's sanity; confronted and consciously discarded. 

I was so sure that  -- having devoted my entire life to increasing her capacity to survive beyond me -- only to find that in the final decade of those long and dedicated years -- that those attempts may have failed after all.  Maybe I was trying heroically for the impossible.

For Dorrie it was 7 months of learning to walk again, twice, upon discovery that the right tibia had rotated enough to make walking impossible without re-breaking and re-setting -- and starting all over and again learning to deal with new physical disabilities added to lifelong mental deficits ... .

And that was just Dorian's trials.  Her mother managed to visit noon hours every day without fail, taking and returning laundry and providing gifts to keep the peace while continuing to fulfill the requirements of a demanding job as a park ranger guide all the while.  It was a tough year that left scars that we're still dealing with.

The irreparable damage to the fragile framework for the living of her life beyond mine cannot be overstated.  We don't have time to do it all over again, and no amount of financial settlement can make up for that loss.  We've both regressed to the point where I've become a nose-wiping baby-talking "Mommy," after a lifetime of training us both for my departure from this world and leaving her as prepared as possible to withstand the loss of her principle support system.  It is now threatened beyond imagination by recent events, but before the year ended she was back living precariously again on her own in a condo nearby with assistance -- and though it will never be quite the same again -- I've gone on with my own separate life in an exciting career far beyond either my own or my colleague's expectations.

Something was destroyed with that accident -- something that has to do with my confidence and trust of "The World," and the vagaries of "Fate." 

This night -- when the world feels so fragile and peace ever more deeply beyond reach, I'm finding myself more timorous -- wary -- and, while relieved that 2010 is ending, I'm far from ready to move into the unknown future, and for the first time in memory. 

Maybe it's that damned Mayan calendar ... .

and please, dear Goddess, ... may it be

a Happy New Year!

Maybe another visit to Dmitri's website is in order ... .