Of home, hospice, and callings
I just spent a month in California, helping my sister with our mother’s in-home hospice care. At first we thought Mom had only days to live, but she’s stable now and might have months left.
I’m torn. Part of me wants to be back there, enjoying more precious time with Mom. Part of me wants to be here. Home. Catching up with my own family and getting ready for my book release. It’s a big complication, that book release. A bookstore can’t host a book launch without having the author there to sign the books, and we can’t throw it together at the last minute with no planning or publicity. So we’re proceeding with our plans, with my mom’s blessing.
Being an artist, she taught me by example that the arts are important. My dad let her be her artsy self, and he was proud of her even when she couldn’t keep up with the housework and needed a hand getting supper on the table. He was in the kitchen as often as she was. In fact, he did most of the baking and jam- and jelly-making because he had a knack for it.
Maybe their easygoing approach to sharing kitchen duties plays into my college-educated mother’s excitement about my novel, because it deals with modern patriarchy and its rigid gender roles that would forbid women to go to college or work outside the home.
Speaking of home . . . I’m glad to be home again, pouring my energy into this crazy writing business. I’m thankful to have a family that lets me be me, and I’m thankful that my mom is in the good hands of my sister and the hospice nurses. I don’t know what my sister and I would have done without the nurses’ compassionate care and medical knowledge. I have the utmost respect for them as they pursue a hard but necessary calling.
We all have our callings. Each one is valid, and we all need each other.
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