"One more song about moving along the highway
Can't say much of anything that's new
If I could only work this life out of my way
I'd rather spend it being close to you…"
--Carole King, So Far Away
We stood outside my parent's house in Oregon with Mom, her car I drove from Santa Cruz full of her and her little dog and much of her stuff, and waited for her friends to bring us a copy of her house key because the one we had didn't work. Twelve and a half hours of cramped but fairly smooth sailing on the highways and byways, listening to the sounds of the 70's and of my childhood, only to have to wait a little longer. (Thank goodness Ody keeps beating the Wreckers.)
She's so fragile, both physically and emotionally, grieving for the loss of Pop, or her well-being over the years battling with chronic illness and pain and a lifetime with meds. Going from my sister's house to mine and then back to Oregon over the past few months has been a mixed blessing, the emotional scars of family dynamics and a little dysfunction flaring up yet again.
And now we're here in their house where Pop passed away not even three months ago. The house is clean and tidy, their dear friends taking care of it while Mom was away. Most of her stuff unloaded from the car, tossed here and there for now until we can put it away, I sit and write, not feeling like we've gained anything from falling back, not even that elusive hour.
The incomprehensible burden of what we do next flattens me to the ground. But I have to get off it. I have to get off it and stand up and help Mom get acclimated to this interim world in Oregon, however temporary it may be. Getting her back to us is the optimal solution, but how to get there, I do not know yet.
I remember a car load from another time, a light blue VW bug that sputtered along, filled with a beautiful but battered mother and her two children and their stuff. A mother who's strength and courage survived over 12 years of domestic violence with two little kids to care for, my sister and me. A faithful servant of God for years, even in her moments of destructive doubt, inescapable grieving and her belittled will to live. She just reminded me of how good it is I'm here with her. I held her tightly in return. Sometimes that's all we need in moments like this, the assurance of warmth and safety in being held, just like she used to do for us back then.
The expository text may tell of how we get here, but the most important thing is that we're here. And what we do with it.