It’s been almost a year now since my mother had her emergency hospitalizations – three of them, massive bleedings, near death, and a grinding recovery. She’s now as recovered as she’ll ever be, with CHF and COPD as part of her daily life. Our daily life. Because she’s low income and elderly, and because I’m a trained caregiver, the state pays me about $15 a day to take care of her. At this point, with her regaining mobility and some strength, that’s about right. Legally, she’s my employer, on a contract with the state that defines her as the “consumer” and me the “provider” of her care. Much bureaucracy involved, of course. That system didn’t kick in until September. Over the summer she needed someone with her pretty much 24/7, and I couldn’t afford to give up my client work and still make household budget work.
So, I’m thanking the universal Goddess for my personal young goddess Tess, and my dear friend Roxanne, for taking up the slack and keeping me and my mother both sane over the past nine months. I also thank all of my writer friends, caregiving partners, and friends in general who have been so patient with my babbling and scribbling. We’ve all come through and out of that maddening sick forest.
A year ago, at this frog-singing season, I had some ambitions. To get another dog. Large, smart, Anatolian Shepard Dog. This requires fixing fences and gates. I thought I might get some chickens, and I definitely had garden expansion dreams that fell through. Today, seeing the last fresh snow frosting the distant foothills, I’m remembering that last year at this time, I was making optimistic promises to myself to get into the mountains more, to listen to the river’s song, to swim in wild lakes, to do some hiking, to explore new beaches, at whatever pace my sixty year old body could manage. I thought I might find some new friends who were not over eighty, not other oddball writers, not my caregiving partners, and maybe not even female!
The Anatolian Shepard Dog is still my highest priority; I’m planning to blog about her/him soon. I watch the ASD rescue website; so far, our new canine family member hasn’t shown up there. With internet searches and new friends in mind, I contemplate the possibility of “internet dating,” but I can’t imagine that working for me. Twenty years ago, I ran a personals ad, dated some, finally gave up. Then Will arrived, fitting no description. A gift, unsought, my magical soul mate.
Shopping for a dog by breed is one thing, but seeking men friends with lists of desirable or not acceptable traits, physical descriptions, or other limiting categories feels immoral to me. That feels strange to say, since I’m ambivalent about mainstream “morality,” which seems randomly judgmental to me. But, deeply, I can’t stand to be a commodity; friends aren’t commodities; honest friendship is too sacred to be made digital.