Well, no, I don’t have pneumonia or the flu. Nor do I feel much feel much like rockin’ since I have a sinus infection that has laid me low. (I always get sick when I travel, which makes my idea of going on the road after my father is gone a bit foolish.)
This infection has made me concentrate on myself and is helping me forget my brother. I tend to worry about him, though there’s nothing I can do for him. I tried to get him help while he was here, which came to nothing. I tried to protect him as much as I could, but only put myself in danger. Now that he’s back in his home state and on his own, he will have to take care of himself as best as he can.
When he was younger, the whole world was his backyard. He seemed to be able to live anywhere until he got the hoarder’s disease and became tied to “stuff.” (A lesson to me to get rid of even more of my stuff, though I doubt I will ever be able to do what my sister did — get rid of everything that didn’t fit in her car.) But now that he is older and developing physical problems as well as mental issues, the world seems alien to him. He says it’s changed, and that it scares him.
Still, he did want to go back to Colorado. If he can hold himself together long enough to make the rounds of social services, he will be okay. Could even end up with a small pension. He admitted he didn’t want to be here, that he got stuck, and perhaps in the end, I did for him what he couldn’t do for himself — get him out of here. (At least that’s what I tell myself, and for all I know, it might even be true.)
One of the reasons we needed him to go was that my father was rapidly declining. We didn’t think the old man had long to live, and the house couldn’t be put on the market with my brother living in the garage. But my father is doing better, so much so that he can be left alone some of the time. My sister, who came to help and who precipitated the exit of my brother, is thinking of leaving, and so once again it will be just me and my father in this house of ghosts.
Since my father needs to use a walker (though most of the time he carries it), he won’t be able to fix his meager meal (and if he could fix them, he wouldn’t be able to carry them), so I can fix his food before I leave for dance classes. (I’ve missed too many classes as it is, and will be missing more because of my sinus infection, and dancing holds me together.)
Mostly I’m just listening to old movies (watching them with my eyes closed, and dozing off periodically), drinking tea, and trying not to think of the next step, either the continued care of father, or what is in store for me when he is gone.
Thank you again for all your prayers, support, well wishes, thoughts, and comments during this trying time. You helped me in more ways than even I know.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.