Everything is just so weird right now.
- The kids went back to Latvia.
- My dear buddy Ardeth died.
- Suddenly I see that Michael Phelps has crater-sized dimples.
I can’t really decide how I feel about any of it.There’s good stuff and bad stuff involved in each. (Okay, maybe not with Phelps, though he probably at some point endured playground trauma regarding his dimples.)
Mind-numbing amounts of the Olympics makes for excellent self medication. It’s like they organized this ginormous event, just to amuse and distract me.
The kids were awesome, and we had a terrific time with them. I wanted to zip myself into one of their suitcase and go live in their foster home–a working farm with dairy cows, chickens, milk-producing goats, and a huge organic garden–for a decade or six.
Have you ever heard the story of the Jewish dude whose rabbi advised him, as he lamented how chaotic his home was, to bring in the farm animals for a week? That’s always how I feel after hosting. My regular old life, right here at home, suddenly seems like a walk in the park.
I first met Ardeth about nine years ago, at church. She was already struggling with memory loss. In her final years, Ardeth had big-time Alzheimer’s and lived in the lock-down unit of a nursing home/rehab center. Even with all that to manage, she brought heaps of joy to those around her. We visited her as often as we could. It was a little like church, except with funkier smells and much hooting and hollering (actually, some churches involve that, come to think of it) and sacred gelato runs and lots and lots of funny stories.
She died a couple of weeks ago, while we were all manner of distracted with the parenting of two additional children. She went to a party, said she didn’t feel well, went brought back upstairs to lie down for a nap, and never woke up. I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around that.
I’m not sad that she died. Dementia is hell. Nursing homes are hell. That’s a life nobody would ever choose for themselves. On the flip side, I’ve lost one of my anchors, and am a little more dazed and confused as a result.
We actually have plans to drive our butts back out to Long Beach, which is close to an hour away, to tell the nice Guyanese couple who own our favorite gelato place that she died. They used to give us free truffles. Ardeth was kind of like a Latvian host kid–she tended to bring out the best in people.
It’s not so much that I’m waiting on the big bad world to change, though that would be nice. It’s more the world inside my head, which is sort of dark and loamy at the moment (though nicely punctuated with all manner of Olympics-honed muscles on the teevee).
It’ll change. It always does. And until that happens, I’m waiting.