27 May 2004
This is not the weekend we had planned.
Life is like that.
Yesterday morning we got a call from Sarah. (For those of you who still need the scorecard, Sarah is Mark's sister.) Their grandmother has been doing worse and is moving into hospice care. She's been going downhill fast. Grandpa Lyzenga can't take care of her himself any more; she needs more care than he can give. The caseworker says Grandma is dying. She just can't say how fast.
One is never ready for this. We aren't.
The plan for this weekend was that Mark's folks would drive over tomorrow night or Saturday early and spend the long weekend with us here, seeing Minneapolis stuff and having birthday cake and generally relaxing. So the plan for today and tomorrow was that I would make bread and birthday cake, clean the house, finish up my contract work, etc.
Now the plan is that I will do laundry and pack. I asked for an extension on the contract articles, but if the editor can't give it, I'm just going to have to withdraw from working on this project. I don't have time to do family stuff and finish these articles in the next few days. I'll regret it if I have to withdraw, but anything I could cobble together this morning would be quite substandard. We'll leave today when Mark's done working. We'll drive over to Milwaukee and stay the night with his folks. Then, all things being in roughly their current state, we'll add Mark's mom and her overnight bag to the car with us and drive the rest of the way to Grand Rapids in the morning. We'll spend some time there, try to see Grandma and Grandpa Lyzenga and maybe a few other family members, and then we'll have Sunday and early Monday back in Milwaukee to spend with both of Mark's parents.
Today is Mark's birthday. Tomorrow is his mom's.
I keep thinking, "Thank God I'm a storyteller, oh, thank God for stories," but I wonder if that's circular, if I'd be having the same comfort in other things if I, well, took comfort in other things. If I had been a really-and-for-true physicist instead of just the approximate kind, would I have relief and relaxation in having variables and particles slide past me? I don't know. What I have is this, and I'm glad of it.
It's hard not to tell stories about Mark's grandma and sound like I'm eulogizing her, though. She's not dead yet, and none of us want to rush her along. And sometimes the phrasing of remembrances sounds like it's funerary prematurely. I don't want that.
But there's this: when I first met Grandma Lyzenga at Mark's graduation, she asked me whether I liked to read science fiction. I cheerfully replied that not only did I like to read it, I also liked to write it. She laughed and sighed, "Oh, well, you might as well fit in with the rest of the family." She was the only one who didn't wallow in the stuff; she had been hoping for an ally. Now she has Jeff, so it all works out well. (Although I have the feeling that if Jeff was going to read something, The Forever War wouldn't be a bad choice; it's just that he has other hobbies he prefers to reading for pleasure.)
Anyway. So. We're driving through Madison and through Chicago, and in neither case will we have time or inclination to stop off and be social. Sorry 'bout that. I know you'll understand.
We went out to Rock Bottom Brewery for Mark's birthday last night, knowing we'd be driving for his birthday dinner today. He opened most of his presents and was pleased with all. Rock Bottom Brewery was tasty even for non-beer-drinkers. Timprov and I are plotting to get extra birthday days for Mark, because he isn't getting very spoiled under the circumstances, and spoiling Mark for his birthday is a good thing when we can manage it.
I finished reading F&SF and started John Lindow's Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Familiar topic, different book. I figured it would be good comfort reading. Not sure what else to pack for the weekend for books: not sure how many or what flavor. I think comfort reading, but what that will mean concretely, I'm really not sure.
We'll get home Monday if everything goes according to plan, so I won't be posting here until Tuesday. If everything goes according to plan. I'll have at least some internet access, so if you need to contact me, I'll still be able to read mail. I don't think I'll have a heck of a lot of time for it, though, so if we carry on a correspondence and you wanted to take an opportunity to get ahead on e-mails, now's your time.
And the main page.
Or the last entry.
Or the next one.
Or even send me email.