This month has been tumultuous for me. Kind of like paddling my canoe over Niagara Falls. Lots of roaring and wild descents and outrageous bumps. That's why I haven't written anything since last month.
I realized yesterday that I totally missed the Ember Week. :(
And I wonder if life is really supposed to be this hectic, so draining--if I am doing it wrong. It feels wrong. That's for sure. But I can't figure out how to do it differently. I just keep paddling furiously and reminding myself that most everyone is doing the same.
I am enormously grateful for my paddle. I grip it tightly, knowing that despite my trials I am supremely blessed.
A young 20-something friend told me, "At least your life is defined." Ostensibly, because I am married and have children and know what my duties are, I am in a far better place than he, who is still single and living at home, not knowing if he will find someone to marry, etc. This is a common concern among my young traditional Catholic men friends. Much worry is devoted to it and rightly so. However, after much pondering, I have to say that although those particular questions have been answered for me, they only bring a new set of questions: Whom will my children marry? Where will they live? Will I be able to have regular, in-person, interaction with my children and grandchildren? Or will they live far from me? Will there be anyone nearby to take care of me in my old age? Will I die with the sacraments?
And yet, I know that we should not be solicitous for tomorrow. Behold the birds of the air...the lilies of the field...
We have the Blessed Mother, too, and her assurance, "Am I not here, who am your Mother?"
Furthermore, we know that God chose for us to be born into this time, this horrible post-Christendom time. Knowing this I feel a grave responsibility. Am I doing God's will? I think He has put a lot of confidence in me to bring me into this world in the dread year 1960.
All of these uncertainties--my young friends' and mine--are symptomatic of the destruction of Catholic culture. So I think every day about what I can do to restore it. Is not Christ telling us, as he told St. Francis, "Restore my Church?"
Speaking of the destruction of the Church, I was astounded to learn that "Catholic" Match allows you to choose which of the Church's teachings you believe. I guess calling the service Heretic Match wouldn't be as lucrative.
Modern Life Is So Disjointed
I spend enormous amounts of time and energy trying to navigate Western medicine for my little family. I think that is why May has finished me off. My little engine was already running on fumes.
My dad was hospitalized again this month, this time for a week, and his discharge paperwork included a list of about 20 doctors who saw him during that time, several of whom I am supposed to make appointments with for followup visits. For the life of me I can't understand why nephrology and urology are two separate specialties! How dumb is that? For that matter, why is gastroenterology its own thing? Why not put those three together into something halfway sensible like an "output" specialist?
After Dad was discharged I canceled two pre-existing appointments with specialists because he needed time to recover from being in the hospital. He was so weak and disoriented from being there that he fell two times within 24 hours of coming home. Unbeknownst to us, he spent an entire night on the bedroom floor, freezing under the ceiling fan. After that he was really confused and thought he was on a boat. Plus, the hospital managed to let him get another bedsore on his heel, so I needed to get him to the podiatrist to have the dead flesh cut out.
When he was in the hospital, I was making daily hour-and-a-half roundtrips to visit him while trying to keep everything going at home, including taking care of my mother and preparing for Emma's senior recital reception and graduation after-party, and the arrival of relatives for those events. Thank goodness my sister Beverly came in from Birmingham and took over with Mom.
We got through all that only for our dog to begin a serious decline. Poor old Cowboy! His hips refused to keep doing their job, and almost every morning I would find him lying against the back door in his own waste because he had been unable to get up to go to the bathroom in the yard. Eerily, it was kind of like the night my Dad spent on the bedroom floor. When I helped Cowboy up, he could walk, but his rear legs would splay out, making him stagger like a drunk.
Finally, my husband Herb dug a hole behind the barn and took Cowboy on his last walk after we each took time to say goodbye. I watched the old Black Lab's agonizing progress down the sidewalk and beside the barn until he turned behind it to dutifully follow Herb. Such a sad, sad day! It was really the end of an era.
We bought Cowboy's mom, Cocoa, and aunt, Genevieve, as newly-weaned pups for Nathaniel and Emma in 1998. We kept one puppy from each mom: Cowboy and Spats. We had to put Spats down last year. I made the mistake of trying to hold out with him and let him die naturally at home. Emma and I ended up having to heave him into the back of the car and haul him to the vet to be put to sleep. I have to say that dying at home at gunpoint on your own grass is the more merciful experience.
When Herb took Cowboy, Emma and I busied ourselves cooking. I asked her to choose some music for us to listen to so that we didn't hear the gunshot. She chose a YouTube playlist. It was all very upbeat music to distract us from our grief. Strangely, just as Herb returned from his death duty, Danny Boy came on, and my tears began anew.
Surely June will be better.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!