Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day 245 - July 3rd

Thomasville, AL
The day rose and fell without much movement from me. My bones ached and it was great having a place to sit around and chill. Even though my body may not have been moving much, my mind had plenty to do, straining hard to untangle the complicated social situation. I have extreme loyalty to the folks who take me in and I wanted to understand their lives, so much of which seems to be steeped in discord and difficulty.

The aides arrived this morning to bathe Pat. It is hard to imagine the pressure of caring for a paralyzed loved one. Pat has been debilitated for 4 years and rings a bell to summon assistance. I tried speaking with him a couple times but he has retreated inwards. I don’t blame him. When one’s connection to the outside world has been cut off so abruptly and miserably, acknowledging its existence must sicken him. Everything would be a reminder of loss. He must have come across the trapdoor in the mind’s floor, opened the hatch and disappeared.

Brandi is a champion for the young kids and she devotes great quantities of time and energy towards helping out here even though she is a single mother with her own house, two kids and a job. But today she is driving to Mobile where Jaime has produced her third child. For the past two weeks Brandi has been staying with Perry and Carol to help with the kids while Jaime’s been in the hospital, especially Paisley who is the cutest little tot. She’s not quite 2. Paisley and her older sister Kaitlyn are Jaime’s daughters. I didn’t get to know Jaime very well but it was clear she is a central player in the strain the family is experiencing. None of the fathers have much presence. She is currently unemployed. Jaime is also moving back in with Perry and Carol with her three kids into a mobile home already crowded with Carol’s mother Linda and disabled stepfather, Pat. Their situation makes it all the more amazing that they invited me to stay. They are unfailingly kind folks.

Perry is the sole breadwinner in the household. Linda and Carol described how they subsist on disability and Social Security checks. Having been appraised of their financial situation, it shocked me to hear Jaime has stolen a substantial sum of money from her parents.

More kids came today, Kaylee and Alden and Brandi’s son Jakolbe aka Bam-Bam. All told we had Kaitlyn, Chelsea, Bam-Bam, Kaylee, Alden and Paisley whom all the big kids look out for and took care of. Kaitlyn and Chelsea can even change her diapers. The girls sequestered themselves in their room as teenage girls are wont to do. They did emerge at one point though with zombie make-up on their faces; they had been making a scary movie! I spent several hours outside on the deck trying to catch up on all the phone calls I’ve promised to friends and family but have been unable to follow through on due to my phone’s lack of network service. It was good talking to those I managed to reach though and I brought them my concerns and puzzles I’ve been mulling over and I listened to theirs. I am always thinking of my friends, wondering how they are and how I will manage to hold onto all of them as I stretch myself across America. 

Bam-Bam and Kaitlyn wearing the Get-Along Shirt!

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