Hi everybody. Writing this post sucks. But then, so do a lot of things in life.
I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be leaving tomorrow for a 2-week trip and may not blog much while I’m gone. As many of you know, my parents have lived part-time in Hawaii for several years, and I’ve written about visiting them (and the plastic in Hawaii) more than once.
01/21/2008: Plastic in Paradise
01/16/2009: Cutting Waste While Traveling: It’s Not So Hard
08/18/2009: Visiting a Plastic Paradise
Tomorrow, I leave to visit my parents’ condo in Waikiki for the very last time. My dad’s there now, selling all their furniture on Craigslist and cleaning up. I’m going to help him finish. My mom is with my sister in Maryland. And my sister is just trying to hold everything together.
Alzheimer’s Disease runs through the women in our family. First my grandmother. Then, my mother. My sisters and I wonder if it will reach out and grab us eventually. Every morning I think about making each moment count and contributing to the world while I can. My question: whether we’re worried about Alzheimer’s disease or getting hit by a speeding Hummer, is it enough to let go and just be? I’d like to believe it is. My meditation teacher says that it is. And yet there’s this voice inside me, pushing me, urging me to do more, more, more with the time that I have.
So I’m grieving. And planning a trip. And grieving. Packing. Grieving. Chatting on Facebook. Grieving. It’s all mixed together. Mortality has trounced the denial that used to sustain me: other people get old and die, but not me. Not the people I love.
Except that we do.
You know all that crap about how we’re just part of something bigger than ourselves? Something we can’t comprehend? How all of our actions are just threads in a larger fabric we can’t see because we’re part of it? I’m starting to suspect that it’s really true.
So here’s the thread for the next two weeks: I’ll be in Hawaii helping my dad finish up. Then, we’ll fly back to Oakland on Wednesday, pick up the car that he shipped back weeks ago, and drive across the country together to my parents’ home in Maryland. I’m sad and happy. Sad to say goodbye to Hawaii — to the annual visits, the music, and the warmth. Happy to be spending some time alone with my father in a way that I never have before and may never be able to again. I’m sad that my mom will never read the book that I’m writing and may not even remember who I am. And I’m deeply grateful to my sister for taking care of her so well and being the one person in the family who is always there to help.
(Oh, and I’m especially glad I quit drinking last year because right now I’d be wasted.)
I’m not sure how much blogging I’ll be doing from the road, but I’ll probably post a few photos and rants because that’s just how I am. I’m looking forward to meeting up this Sunday with the other Beth Terry, the motivational speaker who shares my name and occasionally comments on this blog. (No, it’s not me talking to myself.) Our paths will cross in Hawaii for just a few hours between my arrival and her departure. Also looking forward to visiting my brother in Utah and seeing parts of the country I’ve only ever seen from an airplane.
One of my Facebook friends suggested I should visit Lehman’s general store in Ohio on the way across country, and after perusing all the plastic-free stuff on their web site this afternoon, I think I may have to. Any other must-see’s along this route? We don’t have much time to stop, but if there are things we shouldn’t miss from the road, please let me know!
Finally, I just want to thank everyone who has been so supportive of me personally. Fake Plastic Fish is all about reducing plastic consumption and plastic waste, but it’s also a personal record of my journey, and many of you have been very, very kind when I’ve had my little break downs here and there, especially sharing your own struggles and challenges. Whoever says that the Internet separates people from one another doesn’t understand the connections that can be made.