Sleep eluded me last night, so I puttered around the house for a spell.
First, I leaned onto the bedroom window sill and looked out. For a brief moment, I imagined “is that the northern lights?” Just as quickly I laughed at the absurdity of it. I knew I was gazing south.
Once again there is snow on the ground that causes the lights to reflect off the clouds. A soft pinkish glow in the heavens usually indicates snow clouds. It’s the bright echo from the huge security lights at the penitentiary; a place that doesn’t let you forget its existence there on the hill.
Even if you can’t sleep, the mind is still sleepy. Or, it just plays those little tricks on you, like when you wake up in the morning and think those sagging jowls and eye wrinkles will be gone. Age doesn’t let you forget its face, either.
We buried another relative this month. The event prompted my youngest daughter Amanda to say that our world was a “lifetime of funerals.” The much too recent memory of weary parents burying a daughter chilled me, and the accompanying sigh painted a foggy breath mark on the window.
I found my robe and wandered into the family room where I noticed that the aquarium needs water. The return flow splashing from the filter was what drew my attention.
We recently purchased some Thai Glass Cats in hopes that the two remaining African Glass Cats would come out of hiding. They have. But, they don’t seem to mingle. We’ll have to keep checking at the pet shop to see when more of their subspecies arrive. The owner informed us that “cold weather” is a deterrent to shipping tropical fish.
Our foster cat (elGee) has taken to sitting on the edge of my recliner to stalk and swat fruitlessly at the more colorful mollies and tetras in the fish tank. She also stretches into my lap and exposes her belly so that I can stroke her and tell her she is a nuisance and darn expensive.
Two weeks ago the veterinarian told us that elGee would most likely die.
I arrived home from the sad weekend trip to the news that elGee was terribly ill. She wasn’t eating, drinking, walking around, or responding much to WR’s attempts to comfort her.
I had her in the cat carrier at their door when the veterinarian clinic opened the next morning. By the end of the day the young woman vet ruled out leukemia and aids. She then talked frankly with me about the likelihood of elGee having bone cancer. There is no cure. Panleukopenia (aka cat distemper) was the other possibility – although she was previously immunized at that very clinic.
They pumped her full of antibiotics and subcutaneous fluids and sent her home with me the following day. The instructions were “All you can do is watch her now.”
So, I sat there in the shadows last night watching her. My insomnia was to her benefit. She moves as if to say, “Just scratch me a little here, and let me rub my nose and ears against your fingers” and acts like her old self. Damn that cat – she makes WR and I laugh.
WR and I have talked in depth …and are starting a small business. I don’t know if I can learn all the things that will be required of me. I find myself looking at the backs of my hands. In the shadows and without my glasses, the age spots aren’t so noticeable. Can the other obvious deficiencies be overcome so easily?
A bit of guilt surfaced as my mother came to mind. I thought her housekeeping skills were getting lax in her later years. Now I know she just couldn’t see the splatters. My glasses open my eyes to all the things I miss when I clean up and the small print on anything else that I mishandled because I couldn’t read the directions.
Maybe I don’t mind wandering around in the dark of night, after all? Daylight and corrective lenses bring their own demons.
Slumber arrived eventually. Although I was roused several times with discomfort or from nightmares. I recall with detail, rolling over and saying to myself, “I’m going to remember that dream in the morning.” I don’t. It’s an enigma: remembering that I made a mental note - losing the note.
Losing notes is a scary thing right now. This fall my husband’s sister was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 59. We expected it as we knew something was amiss for the past six years.
I find myself being her part time caretaker after I resigned my job. These two months have enlightened me to her need for more supervision. We want her to have some level of autonomy – as long as possible. Unfortunately, her independence draws directly from mine and WR’s. Yes – another sack of worries clogging the brain sifter after midnight.
Fortunately, last night was the exception. I’m thankful that some recent nights have unwrapped into some of the best mornings I’ve experienced in months.
One step back, two steps forward. I’m good.