Helping Hands

The day started normally enough. Except. It was 2 hours premature. My brain heard the starter’s pistol well before the alarm clock struck its usual 6:30 a.m. wakeup. Mind-of-her-own jumped out of the gate and was off to the races. Shame, shame on my body if it couldn’t keep up!

Out of town company was expected to stay in the basement apartment and I was ticking off boxes. My sister-in-law, her husband and two 30-something sons. (Let’s do the the math. Four bodies. Two beds. Someone would need to occupy the en suite upstairs.) Incidentally, we had begun a remodel of the laundry room, a shared hallway connected apartment and laundry. Shit! Essence of 50-year old toxic dust and mold spores. Add change air filters and purchase an air filtration device to my To-Do list.

Oh, and I needed to empty the dehumidifer, vacuum, change the sheets, dust and clean the bathroom. Make sure there were clean towels and toilet paper. Empty the trash. On second thought, there probably wasn’t that much trash. Maybe just consolidate it into the kitchen can? With its black liner nobody would notice. And if they did? Big whoop. We’d get a lower rating on Tripadvisor reviews? I don’t think so!

Lordy, I do so hope no one gets sick! I need to put diffusers in the sleeping and living spaces. Maybe in the laundry, too. Wonder where I put that frigging recipe for Four Thieves Anti-Plague Remedy? Add that to the list!

This was Thursday. Visitors arrive Friday. Surprise birthday party at the lake for my 86 year old father-in-law on Saturday. Visitors leave Sunday. This was totally doable, if I got my butt in gear. Go by the hardware to pickup filters and air purifier before work today. At lunch stop at the grocery and get Mega Green, pineapple juice, ginger root, lemon, Manuka honey and flowers for my brother before I showed up to give him his foot massage.

Oh, but at work I need to monitor the lymphedema support groups to see if I need to printout any new articles for my brother. His lower limb and genital edema/pain is really getting the better of him. Pretty please, someone in the group offer us a glimmer of hope. The cancer is taking its physical, emotional and spiritual toll on everyone and I’ve got my fingers crossed that his wife and daughters don’t think I’m overstepping…foisting my agenda on them.

What the blue blazes did the cranio-sacral therapist tell me the other day? I don’t have to do it alone. Ask for help from those that are waiting on the other side. Let my heart guide me and offer up the words and actions I know to be true. Easier said than done. What if I get it wrong? What if I cause more pain? What if his family tells me to stay the hell away?

At the time, it was quite humorous. The therapist told me to ask for help and I immediately thought about my grandparents and about my mom. I was laying there on the cushy, heated table with Rene to my left when this normally calm and graceful PT began to jerk at the shoulders. She chuckled and said, “You have some very pushy spirits that are eager to help. Matter of fact, it’s getting a little crowded in here. I think we need to wrap it up for today.” That was one week before my brother’s stoic, man-of-steel facade broke. We were alone and his fear, regret and sadness came flooding out.

“Guilt Free Zone, man. If there’s something weighing down your heart, I can listen without judging. Anyone. Anything. In this instance, I consider my sieve-like memory an asset. I’ve got to say that from my viewpoint, this is the ideal time for you to be honest and selfish about your feelings. Let the poison escape your soul and forgive yourself for whatever you think you may or may not have done or said. And if I’m just projecting…then never mind.”

So now we have a routine: greeting, internet treasure or crapshoot, foot massage and talk. Some times there’s silence instead, but he unlocked the door and I slipped in the wedge. Time will tell.

Time? Oh shit! When am I going to do the laundry? Clean undies are vastly overrated. Can you say COMMANDO!

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