One more day.
That is how long I have to hold everything together.
One more day.
We kept busy today: moving my father's furniture down to his new domicile, driving down to visit my mother, attending the burial of his sister who passed away from The Plague in January, driving back to my sister's to get a table, then driving back to his new domicile to put a last piece of furniture in, and finally going out to dinner with my sister and brother in law and returning home.
He is on the couch, napping. He is, I am sure, exhausted. After all, he is in his early eighties and has not been doing a lot of physical activity lately.
I am (perhaps self-evidently) here typing, also exhausted. Physically, to some extent - my sleep pattern is always off a little bit here, and his wrists have been keeping my father up at night.
But mostly mentally.
I am not by nature or disposition an optimistic person (our resident optimist, Ed of Riverbend Journal, handles that for us here). But for the past week, I have had to be not just an optimist, but The Optimist.
About a thousand years ago - or really last Tuesday - we moved my mother into a situation where, in one location or another, she will spend the rest of her life. My father, not surprisingly, is very concerned about her but does not necessarily understand all the protocols. So I and my sister have to explain: Yes, she is okay. Yes, she will be able to leave the room soon after her test. Yes, we are sure that people are visiting her and checking on her. Yes, we are sure she is eating.
And when my father and I have seen her, we have to reassure her as well: Yes, you have to stay in your room right now. Yes, you will be able to get out of your room soon. No, you have to stay there for a little way longer - knowing full well "longer" is a very long time indeed.
With my father it is somewhat the same: Yes, I am sure it will be hard at first when you move in, but you will get to know people. Yes, I am sure the TV will be set up. Yes, the place will be okay. Yes, Mom will be there soon.
We need them to believe that this will work out for the best. We exude optimism as a methodology to make it so, trying hard to will something into existence.
But then something like tonight comes: my father asleep, moving tomorrow, me having seen my mother today with all of her things packed into a bag and asking when she can come home. I almost lose the belief myself, falling into consideration of the totality of all that has happened in the last month.
But I cannot. Not yet. I have one more day to see the world through the eyes my parents desperately need me to see them through.
One more day.