Wednesday, August 2, 2006


"The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."

    The above quote comprises the first two sentences of L.P. Hartley's novel, The Go-Between. I was reminded of it this morning while reading through a caregiver journal to which I was just introduced, Fading from Memory, which I've also just added to my outgoing links section to the right. I was reminded of this quote as I began digesting a complete reading of Mike's journal. The initial impression with which I was left is that Ancienthood, whether one is experiencing it directly or as a caregiver, is also a foreign which one, as either caregiver or Ancient One, has no choice but to learn to do things differently. Learning a new language, a new culture, new habits of community, or having to invent all these (which is often the case, at the moment, since it is becoming apparent that this foreign country is also a new frontier), I think, may be the fundamental emphasis of becoming Ancient and caring for the Ancient. It is certainly obvious in Mike's journal.
    I want to mention, as well, since I notice I didn't last night (the effect of exhaustion, I guess) that Mom was so thrilled with the at-home-birthday-ham dinner we decided on and I prepared that, while I was working on finishing What Are Old People For she was up three different times reminiscing about this latest celebratory ham dinner, past dinners and, finally, on the third awakening, urgently suggesting that it's been a long time since we've hosted a family Christmas...perhaps we should this year. At the moment I'm leaning toward this possibility, even though, in recent years, I've rejected it. Maybe, with a few new rules, this possibility wouldn't seem so overwhelming to me; the chief rule being, no one spends the night with us. I'm considering it, now.
    Since there is no reliable 12-hour mark today, I've been tiptoeing into Mom's bedroom every half hour since noon and gently rousing her every hour (noon, 1300, 1400) to see if she's ready to arise. So far, she hasn't been. I'm getting a little nervous so I'll probably insist on her arousing at 1430. It's becoming doubtful to me that her restaurant birthday dinner will take place today. She may be too interested in the ham (which I expect we'll have for breakfast and, probably, for dinner, if we eat here) to want to do that tonight. If so, well, that's fine. Our family seems to have a predilection for celebrating singular birthdays over and over...a fine tradition which began with Mom and Dad and continues in the incarnation of their latest great-granchild.
    Better get this posted and face whatever type of arousing is in the cards for me today. Speaking of cards, just a reminder to myself. More later on that, maybe, if I remember. Something to do with playing a computer card-game called "Montana".
    No, I haven't quite completed the book, but only the Appendix and notes remain unread.

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