love you, darling. Sweetest, the folks wrote and told me they were going to
bring you out to see me. I’m making plans already. Darling, I can’t wait. I
love you again and again!!!
received the box today and it was swell. I think you are the most wonderful
new captain liked those molasses cookies.
there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give to have you with me. I love you so much,
and life would mean so little if it wasn’t for you. You are my everything,
golden years, the end of a perfect summer evening would find Ibby and Ed
sitting in the driveway on two folding, aluminum lawn chairs with mismatched
plastic webbing, angled toward each other, close enough to play footsie. They
were the king and queen of their little quarter acre, holding court over their
flowers and vegetable garden, waving at cars driving up and down Orchard Land,
calling greetings to neighbors walking by.
During Annette’s visit
in the summer of 2003, all four of us sat in the driveway one evening in a
semi-circle as Dad showed Annette his new riding lawn mower, and invited her to
take it for a spin. She made a few loops around the yard, while Mom and Dad
beamed proud smiles and cheered for her. Annette and I shared a glance, shook our
heads, and snickered, thinking, Who has parents like this, so happy and full
of life, cheering for a 56 year old woman mowing a lawn?
Thankfully, Ed and
Ibby remained physically healthy, taking few medicines, except for Dad’s blood
pressure and Mom’s high cholesterol. However, Annette and I, along with our
husbands and children noticed off-kilter, incidents. More and more frequently
their actions, speech and ability to make clear decisions didn’t make sense.
Annette and I would speak in hushed tones, grabbing a few moments to talk privately
when she was home, and I’d try to remember recent events when we spoke by
phone. Annette suggested I keep a journal documenting these oddities, so she could
be informed, we’d be of one mind, and we could work as a team.
The thought of documenting
my parents’ lapses made me uneasy––it was unsettling. I felt like I was
gossiping about them on paper––as though I was a betrayer of those who would
gladly sacrifice everything for me.
So, on the
cardboard inside cover of a black Mead, seventy-page, spiral bound notebook,
unused by any of my third graders because of its nondescript color, I wrote
these words to try to absolve myself from guilt, in case something happened to
me and someone else unearthed my spy’s journal:
Journal of the aging process of Ed and Ibby,
started when they are age eighty-three.
I feel pain, sadness, and guilt as I begin this
journal, because my parents have given my sister and me life, faith and
everything we need to become strong, self-sufficient adults.
I document these events only to show a progression that
may be helpful in the future for the purposes of diagnosis and decision making.
Then I wrote my first entry.