Another trip home in the books. Between scheduling, logistics, a complexity of feelings and then catching covid so close to departure, this was not an easy trip to make on any level. Choosing to leave Reza behind was a tough call to make – but when we were barely clearing negative tests, I had to make a choice for the sake of parental safety. I was really looking forward to having them come with me. What I wasn’t prepared for was the cruel, reinforcing realization that this parenting thing is really a solo job. Even when the asks are minimal at best and in this case, under circumstances of real duress. I see that and I can only count on myself – well, and the friends who show up for both of us better than blood can, without even having to be asked. It was another layer of hard I didn’t plan for but those wagons circled so I could still go on my own since my fares were not refundable and time with Mom is running out. I am so grateful I have people in my life that I can trust, that are selflessly filled with care and empathy. Ingrid stepping in to stay with Reza was something I don’t know how I will ever repay. Somehow, the universe sees me and continues to provide.
By the skin of my teeth I managed to get our recovery in, turn in some art, work, have Reza + the cats covered and tie all my loose ends so I could go with a little less stress. I am grateful that the journey was relatively hiccup free and that Mexico is still practicing precautions and covid protocols – cause I sure as fuck do not want to catch this shit again.
Mazatlan changes more and more with every visit. Buildings get taller, the gentrification creeps in yet in so many corners, the nostalgia remains in the old reliables: the cracked tiles, your favorite ice cream stand still being there and trees growing out of the walls. It was unbelievably warm, swampy, but medicinal in her own ways – gifting me with one morning of a fleeting summer thunderstorm, just like I remembered them.
Truth be told, the majority of the trip was spent at home. Sitting in the room with Mom, naps, helping where we could without getting snapped at by Dad who in his old age only becomes more set in his ways. Change is not welcome there. Of course the eats are always choice but when I am still in covid recovery, things weren’t as easy on or for me. My sisters and I had a couple days under the same roof before the 3 became 2 and now only 1 remains there. It’s a tough spot for everyone, really. Our nightly outing for a walk/dinner was about as much excitement we got but we savored it nonetheless. It had been 3 years since we could and when the time is fleeting, you soak in what you can.
I wish I could say that things with Mom are anywhere that had certainty but the nature of this disease is a lot of variables, unknowns and as it slowly advances, the grief only amplifies. And when you’re dealing with so many different personalities around Her, it’s all very complex and while well meaning, can be challenging within itself. My family has been actively mourning the living for 5+ years now and while we were given a rough timeline of 6-12 months, it could be more, or less. We just don’t know and Dad is so mad about us even having asked what that timeline was. I try to give him a ton of grace and empathy where I can, even if I don’t agree.
We all dance with grief in our own ways and it can be the worst partner ever. It’s so individually tailored and personal and there isn’t one right way to go about it that is right or wrong as long we don’t interject our own process into that of another. There is something so cruel about watching someone you love slowly deteriorate into this shell of the human you remember them to be. A frail and delicate vessel of paper thin skin, a glimpse into the mortality we all face who just so happens to stare back at you with confusion and vacancy, with the eyes of the one that brought you into this world.
It is something I don’t wish on anyone to have to endure.
Leaving gets more and more difficult because we have to treat every goodbye as the final one. I have had to have that “final goodbye” conversation with Her and myself more than once. Over and over… and over…. and while I have made a ton of peace with it, and Her, it is not easy and in ways will never feel right.
I am glad I made it home with a couple days to spare before going right back into the grind. The unwind and unpack is something I will be doing for a good while.
To everyone who messaged, supported, showed up and listened to me throughout all of this process and journey – forever grateful to it and you for being a part of this with me. I am eternally grateful for all of that kindness and generosity.