Saturday, August 4, 2012

Twenty-Two Years and Counting.

Tomorrow is the twenty-second anniversary of my mother's death, conveniently commemorated every year in Seattle by the festival of SeaFair, or, more specifically, the hydroplane races at the END of SeaFair. A loud, gasoline-lakewater-and beer-soaked explosion of debauchery and testosterone that occurs at one end of Lake Washington on the first Sunday in August. Oh, and don't forget the Blue Angels performance, which I actually kind of like because my Dad loved the planes and the noise they make in your chest as they fly right over where you're standing (but which every commuter in Seattle hates because they mess up the traffic while practicing for three days before the actual celebration). My husband and I hate the whole thing so much that every year we swear we're going to leave town for the duration just to avoid it. Yes... that. Good times.

When I was in High School, I loved SeaFair because we went out there on my friend's boat in the blazing sun and watched the stupid people floating on tiny, deflating rafts get drunk and sunburned. But I stopped liking it the night my Mother died, in our house, with my Sister and I beside her. Hours after the races were done, of course, but never to be forgotten. Although she had deep, angry issues, and problems we were only just becoming aware of, she was also a good mom and wife, and we lost her that night. You just never quite get over a thing like that - and I don't think my Dad ever did. I think a part, a very large part, of him died that night with her. And not just because he loved her so much, although he did. And not because she was his whole psycho-social life, although she was. But also because what he thought his life was going to be, for the next fifty years or so, died with her, and he didn't have the internal resources to deal with that. I think it was just one blow too many, and from that day, he started to withdraw; from work, from us, from life, and finally, from himself.

Unfortunately, that left my Sister and I to struggle on as best we could. We went back to college, picking up our lives again, but without the central planet around which we all orbited. We would never again follow the neat, safe celestial path we had been privileged to follow before. Both our paths would become harder and harder, until mine nearly killed me; and still, my Father sailed serenely further and further into the black, until there was no coming back. The point of no return had been reached and passed. I grieve for that, and for him, but it also makes me very, very angry. There were several times in my life when I could have used the parent I had left, but he just couldn't be there. No matter what has hit me, I have always fought on as best I could, and part of me can neither understand nor condone how he could just give up like that. You can't truly know another person, though, and I will never really know what was between the two of them, nor what happened to him on that heavy, hot night in August, twenty-two years ago.

Here's to you, Pat Jackson, twenty-two years late - gone but not forgotten. We loved you and we miss you, and I hope you're up there somewhere, laughing, and watching the Blue Angels tomorrow.

6 comments:

  1. tracy.rose@healthline.comAugust 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Hi Joy,

    Healthline editors recently published the final list of their favorite Alzheimers Dementia blogs and your blog made the list. You can find the complete list at: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-alzheimers-dementia-blogs (in no particular order). We encourage you to share your status as one of the best blogs on the web with your friends, family, & followers.

    We also created a set of badges you can easily embed on your site & anywhere else you see fit:

    http://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-dementia-badges

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Congrats & continue the great work!

    Warm Regards,
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy, I hope you get this; I'm so, so honored! Thank you so much for this very special thing, and I certainly WILL display it. I appreciate your confidence in my blog. Take care, Joy

      Delete
  2. tracy.rose@healthline.comNovember 5, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Hi Joy,

    Healthline recently finished putting together a collection of the best online Alzheimer's videos. You can find it at: http://healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-videos-alzheimers

    We encourage you to share the list with friends, followers, and subscribers.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Warm Regards,
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Tracy, I'll definitely share the list. Thanks for continuing to think of me and my site. Hope you are enjoying Fall!

    ReplyDelete
  4. tracy.rose@healthline.comDecember 24, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    Hi Joy,

    Healthline recently kicked off its second annual "Best Health Blog of 2012" contest & our editors have nominated 3 Years And 13 Dumpsters: Cleaning House After Dementia. You can find your blog at http://www.healthline.com/health/best-health-blogs-contest by searching or sorting.

    We encourage you to promote the contest amongst your readers & friends. The blog with the most votes on February 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm will win $1000, 2nd place wins $100 and 3rd place nabs $50.

    You can also add a 'vote for me' badge to your site by going to: http://www.healthline.com/health/contest-badges, and clicking 'embed.'

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Warm Regards,

    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once again Tracy, what an incredible honor! Thank you so much. I will get to advertising on my blog. Joy

      Delete