My brother-in-law (or anyway that's what I think he is ... my wife's sister's husband ... I never managed to get that stuff straight) is back in the hospital. Dan had a tumor removed from his brain, went home, started experiencing pain and was re-admitted to have fluid drawn from the brain. My wife's other sisters are lending Maggie, Dan's wife, what support they can -- visiting, hand-holding, consoling.
The ripples reach out. Today, my wife is going to New Jersey to be with her mother who feels concern for Dan and Maggie, but does not want to interfere. "Siblings have a bond that I do not have," my wife said she said. I think that Dan's lost control may echo and reinforce her own sense of loss ... getting older, feeling things slip away ... and my wife will hold her mother's hand a bit.
At the other end of this state, my stepmother, whom I talked with Thursday, was scheduled to see a doctor Friday about her cataracts. Their impact didn't seem to be waning after a procedure some months ago and my stepmother was frightened that she would no longer be able to drive -- that she would be a burden to others, that she would become dependent in ways that shattered her sense of independence. I will call her later today to see how things went.
Yesterday, my younger son and I got together to create a design for a sweatshirt he wanted to give to his track coach. I had given my son a similar sweatshirt and his coach had admired it. So we sat at the computer and created one for Ms. Ralls. We worked together. My son seemed pleased with the on-screen result. He didn't bat an eye when I said I wouldn't give him his allowance this week because of the cost of the project.
And again, yesterday, as I sat on the porch, the dogs at Donna and Kathy's house were setting up a pretty big racket -- barking and barking and barking. Donna and Kathy are pretty considerate about their dogs, keeping them in line and quiet so as not to bother neighbors like me. So after a while, I got concerned that the dogs were barking. I went over to the house and knocked on the door -- which set the dogs off even worse. I tried the door, which was locked. Both their car and their motor scooter were in the driveway. Finally, I called the cops because I was worried someone might be incapacitated inside the house. The cops came, tried the doors, then asked me if I had something -- some dog biscuits or something -- with which to calm the dogs once they did enter the house. But just about the time I returned with some chocolate chip cookies, Donna and Kathy and their daughter came back from their walk. "Did you call the cops on us?" Kathy asked affectionately as she gave me a hug. And I admitted I had.
Helping is a strange thing. In most cases, there is really nothing that can be done to ease or correct or salve the scene. Expectation blurs that fact. Really, there is nothing that can be done ... but we do it anyway.