I won't mow the lawn. Well, I suppose I would if my dad asked me, but he hasn't and I'm grateful to the point of tears. Mowing grass might as well be the eternal flames of hell. I can't think of any worse torment. And it's been raining a lot since I got here, so the grass needs to be mowed every few days. "Needs to be mowed," they say, but I think it looks beautiful when it gets all long and green and lush. I have to admit that I feel guilty watching my 74-year-old father push the lawn mower back and forth -- but not guilty enough to go out there. I think he enjoys it. I'm going to assume he enjoys it.
I feel such a strong urge to be writing one of those usually icky articles like "what I learned about life and myself while taking care of my sick parent," but I have this rule about not writing personal stuff about other people. It's a tricky rule, and I'm usually very uncertain where to draw the line. Maybe it would and maybe it wouldn't be interesting to you to read about my mom, but I don't think it's my story to tell. At least, not right now in the middle of it.
Just to reassure anyone who might worry: Mom is doing very well. In fact, you wouldn't even know she'd been sick. Yesterday she had me drag all the furniture from the screened-in porch out onto the lawn so she could scrub the mold off with bleachy water. I'm not sure if I should insist on doing these chores for her, because it seems to me that this is what she does. This is what her days consist of. Taking care of the house and the lawn and the gardens. Because her immune system is compromised by the chemotherapy, she's not allowed to dig in the dirt this summer. I try to keep up with the weeding, but I know somehow that's not the point. Someone else weeding is fine, but it's a distance second to doing it herself.
I can say this without betraying anyone's privacy: I am in a foreign and mysterious place where bushes get pruned to the bloody nub and all the condiments are in upside-down plastic bottles. I miss my wild, overgrown yard, and I miss the sound of a butter knife against the rim of the mustard jar. And I miss J.