“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.” —Paulo Coehlo
What a strange, happy, sad, long weekend. It was only two days, but it was packed so full of emotion and activity so, it feels like Friday was at least a week ago. (I’m writing this Sunday night.)
Among other things, I led a workshop (which happened to be attended by a dear out-of-state friend I hadn’t seen in 30 years.) I drove to LA for another longtime friend’s birthday bash, where I got to reconnect with some other favorite art school buddies I hadn’t seen in awhile. I even got to attend a holiday dance recital for one of their daughters, which was very special too. The kids got to have sleepovers with their own friends (a first for Justine). It was the weekend we’d all be looking forward to….and it was amazing.
Maybe that’s why the hard news I received felt at first surreal and then tearfully upsetting. If it had been any other weekend, with myself at home trying to finish up domestic tasks and projects, toting the kids around as I normally do, it wouldn’t be so hard to have seen Vernon in the state he was this morning, with is his eyes tightly closed, jaw twitching, his body agitated, a little more confused and forgetful and easily angered than I’d seen him for a couple of weeks. When you’ve finally had a good run of things for a little while, it can be depressing to have things step backward again. (Why can’t I remember that steps backward are the only consistency in his recovery? It STILL annoyingly catches me off guard when I’ve got my hopes up again.)
But that’s not what set me off, not really. I got some bad news on Friday. Our attorney called to say that the option we thought we had of going to court to get more compensation from the driver of the pickup truck was an option no longer. I never did want to go to court…it was not something I looked forward to it all. It just seemed like a no-win situation, but it also seems more just than accepting the 30,000 of insurance money that he was covered for. In my heart, I’m kind of relieved, to be honest, but I’m also disturbed. This person has been avoiding calls from his insurance agency (and the lawyers?) so it took this long to realize we have no case. We won’t see a cent of that money…which makes the fact that it was so little in the first place weirdly comforting.
But the money isn’t the hard part. I knew it would never be enough to cover our lack of income and medical expenses. It just makes me sad to know that someone who caused so much pain and change (granted, not on purpose) can just walk away as if it never happened and we are left to pick up the pieces. I don’t know how to feel about that. I’m not sure if I’m angry. I know it makes me feel very sad. It still seems like this person should KNOW? Or is that even important…? Is that more of our precious energy misplaced?
I told Maki I was upset about it…and being the wise, forgiving old soul he is, said: “You have to put yourself in their shoes. They didn’t mean to do it.” That’s true…but to not even KNOW about it?
The whole thing has unsettled me. It just seems so unfinished and final at once. Not that I didn’t expect this outcome, either. None of it was going to be what I wanted. It just feels that we have to pay so much for someone else’s mistake. It’s like I’ve finally been given the truth I’ve been waiting for, and all these emotions have been put on hold…now they are coming out at once but are all jumbled and confused and have been given no place to land.
I already mentioned how Vernon wasn’t his best self today (or yesterday, I hear.) This always makes me slightly nervous of what is to come, though I have no real gauge of that yet. On top of that, I heard the news that our beloved Dr. Dan (and his overseeing doctor) won’t be with us at Mesa Verde anymore. I haven’t talked to Dan about this yet, but Joe let me in on what he had been told. (He shares the same doctors.) The three of us sat there around the outdoor tables this morning, commiserating, trying to imagine what kind of doctor we will be given next. He was the first doctor who had actually worked with any of us in all our nursing home experiences. He was our big perk in staying at that home (besides Joe.) I’m very sad.
So it was just too much. By the end of today, I felt like the bottom had fallen out of all the work we’ve done so far. There is more that underlines all of this that I won’t go into. It’s just the three of us now—Vernon, Joe, and myself. We are on this sort of lifeboat together, bobbing away from the ship we were on. We are adrift again. One piece of bad news is hard, but even a great weekend can’t make TWO rounds of bad news tolerable at the moment.
Best case scenario? I’ll just put my newest dream out there in case someone who reads this can practically help—or just really loves to pray for miracles. I don’t even know if it’s possible, but wouldn’t it be great if we could get BOTH of them into another care home closer to San Clemente? I don’t even know if there is anyone who would take our limited insurance at this point. Or if they could travel together. But Joe says he will move. Without Dan, there is no reason to stay there…but I don’t want to leave Joe behind. Joe says he’d move too if we found something.
Things are always bound to change, I realize…and often forced change makes way for something better later. If that happened right away, that would be one thing. But I look ahead, exhausted, and wonder. It sure looks dark at night. Will we find land right away or will there be a lot more tossing of the waves before we do? My answer is the same one I always have: I don’t know.