While on vacation, I visited family. Primarily my Dad. His best friend, came over that evening and we had a great visit. Discussing politics, society and computers. I really love that type of visit. The next day, Dad and I went to his parent's house. While he was doing other things I sat chatting with my grand parents. Both are in their 80's and having issues. My living so far away, I don't see the gradual progression, I get the big shocks when I visit. This was one of those times. My Grandfather was telling me that I should stop by his sister's place in Kentucky. I had not seen her for over 20 years so I was a bit uncertain. But my Grandmother, whom I can not disobey, told me to go there. Then she started telling me how to find it. We sat there and visited, discussed the placed in Kentucky and so on for a good while. Then she turned and asked me who I was. This devastated me. It took me a few moments to understand her question. When I did, I realized it was the Alzheimer's. As GrandDad was telling her who I was, and I listened to them talk about me, my lineage and history, it dawned on me, I no longer knew these people. And they knew more of me, than they actually knew me. And it was too late to change that. However, what I could do was to be there and learn who they are. Speak with them, support them and so on.
As I continued my vacation, I did stop in to see my GrandDad's older sister. Myrtle. Myrtle is a little spit fire rolled up in live TNT sticks. She lives mostly alone. Her daughter lives downstairs in her own apartment of the house. And we spoke of her baby brother (GrandDad) and what was going on with him. His Alzheimer's is not as advanced as Grandmother's. But he also has Senile Dementia. The things Myrtle was telling me about their last visit just had my heart and mind spinning.
After this short visit I continued on my way, enjoying the roads and the sites of the Cumberland Lake area, and then on down into Tennessee and the Daniel Boone National Forest. But I could not get away from the thoughts of my Grandparents. Neither of them is really able to care for themselves, anymore. That is why they are going to move in with my Dad. And he is not really doing much better. He's not got that 'old people's disease' as Grandad calls it. But instead, he's got very bad asthma due to a victory over lung cancer. He's also got a busted up back. He get's along just fine, for himself. But I'm worried about him and his parents. I'm also worried about losing some of that history they have been through. I'm also worried, probably most worried, about my Dad and I not knowing each other.
As a teen ager, I put my Dad through hell and back. As a young adult, I often just cut off ties with family as I tried to figure things out for myself, and only called when I wanted something. Now, I'm in my 40's and Dad and I talk usually at least once a week. He sends me e-mails, almost daily.
As I rode I came to the realization, there is really only ONE WAY to improve this situation. I need to move back to the Indianapolis area. A tall order, given the state of the economy and the employment market. Tomorrow, I speak with my manager to try to start making arrangements to work remotely, at least 3 weeks of the month from Indy. That will put me nearer to family and able to help my Dad with the variety of things he needs help with. Dad and I discussed this. He was adamant that I not do this unless it is for me. This is for ME.
I realized that, on the road, somewhere between Nashville and Memphis. More than once I started to turn north, to 'head home'. I thought long and hard about my responsibilities. Not just to my family and my friends, but also to myself and my employer. Once past Memphis, I started putting pieces of the puzzle together. What would I need to do to make this happen, etc.
The biggest obstacle is employment. I can't rent my own place and have gas money to do the things I need to do without a job. I've looked at the Indianapolis area market, and well, for high tech jobs such as I do, they have VERY few openings. So my plan is to meet with my manager, tomorrow for a regularly scheduled meeting and open a dialogue on performing my job remotely. All the tools and technologies are in place. I've got the equipment I need to do the work out of my home. All I really need is a good, reliable high-speed internet link. And his permission.
Here is hoping I can sell myself and my ideas, well enough to make a very important change. I don't want to leave this job, but I don't see that I have any option, but to get back to Indianapolis. And at this point, maybe working 3rd shift, night auditor for a hotel again will get me there. I'm hoping it will not come to that.
Share a warm thought if you can. This might get a bit rough.