Every year about this time, I start to think about the "Ides of March." If you've read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, you'll probably remember that Caesar was warned by a soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March." Predictably, Caesar disregarded the warning, and was offed by his good friend Brutus on the Ides of March. Eh tu, Brute? The Ides of March is another, older, way of saying "March 15th"--today's date. Frankly, I think in modern times, the Ides of April is a scarier date, the day when the tax man strikes!
Every year, the Ides of March passes, largely without incident, but not this year. Tonight, after I got home from work, I got a call from a neighbor of my parents, who called to tell me they had been involved in an automobile accident yesterday. Oh, they're okay, mostly--or it could have been worse, at any rate. From what I understand so far, my 81-year-old father lost consciousness as he was driving out of their mobile home park and hit a tree. My mom, who is 78, suffered three broken ribs and a small laceration to her spleen. They don't think she'll need surgery, but they're keeping a close eye on her condition. I spoke to her briefly on the telephone, and if you've ever had broken ribs or known anyone who has, you'll understand that it was very difficult for her to talk much. I've been told my father wasn't as badly injured, but I'm not certain precisely what his injuries are as I wasn't able to talk to him or his nurses. Tomorrow my husband and I will make the two-hour drive to visit them in the hospital to find out more information about their condition and what to expect later.
I think that in the coming weeks, once they've been released from the hospital, I'll be making several trips a week to visit my parents and bring them food and whatever else they need. In September, my mom fell and broke her kneecap and was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. My dad had been showing signs of dementia and wasn't able to fully care for himself, so driving up there every couple of days, bringing him food, and making sure he was doing okay became routine.
Most of us, in our middle years, are faced with the prospect of our parents reaching a point where they can no longer care for themselves but don't wish to give up their independence, and some tough decisions need to be made. For many reason, perhaps many of which are selfish, neither I nor my brother can take our parents into our homes, and we cannot help them in theirs, which is an hour and a half drive away from me and about a four and a half hour drive from my brother. I spoke with my brother on the telephone tonight, and we decided that after everything has settled down, we'll both set aside time for a visit to my parents' home to meet with them and discuss some kind of plan for their future.
Sadly enough, when I reached my brother to tell him about our parents, I found him at another hospital with his wife and her father; his father-in-law has been in poor health for some years and recently took a turn for the worse; it is expected that he will pass within the next 24 hours. I can't imagine the impact all of this is having on my brother!
Somehow, I haven't felt much like quilting tonight. For me, quilting is excellent therapy, but I just haven't been able to make myself go into the Sweat Shop, turn on the lights and the sewing machine, and immerse myself in threads and fabric. I'm about half done quilting a St. Patrick's Day tabletopper; I'm not sure it will be done by Saturday to put on our "holiday" table, but I don't think it really matters too much. I am not so upset, though, that I haven't remembered there's a nice little quilt shop just down the street from the hospital! LOL! Is that shallow? Maybe, but I think that after visiting my parents, a little retail therapy might be in order. And if it doesn't seem like a good idea at the time, then we won't stop there. I'm also thinking my husband and I might grab a late lunch/early dinner in this cute little town, before we head home; it might give us a chance to unwind a little and talk before we get back on the road. And I'm very grateful to have a husband who, without hesitation, arranged to take the day off work to come with me to visit my parents--his support is deeply appreciated; more, I'm sure, than I ever tell him in words.