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KKK in China?

It's getting warmer out here in Hangzhou. This means the doors and windows are opening early in the morning and my fan is turned on to move some air to cool things off. Off my balcony in the distance I can hear a funeral procession making its way up into the hills for a burial. Not sure how clear it is in the picture above, but funeral processions here are generally done in white robes with white hats. They totally look like a Klan rally.

Spoke with my aunt Wendy for about an hour this morning. She's saved her sister. Without her doing what she's been doing the past week I can't imagine where my mom would be right now. She was with her the first three days in her new home and will be there again on day five.

Therapy session on the phone? Yeah. Pretty much. I can't stop asking myself the same question again and again. What impact has my being in China had on my mom? Was this going to happen regardless? Actually, I know what the tipping point was. She had made friends and connected with other seniors at Summit Place. I felt good about knowing she wasn't alone. And then Steve died. She had what she believed was her "boyfriend" Steve living across the hallway from her. The staff at Summit Place told me she was pretty much living in his apartment for about a year. Calling her this past year to touch base become a repetitive task. Call her phone. No answer. Call the staff. Get transferred to a portable handheld phone. They would walk it down the hallway to Steve's room. She was there every time and they were watching TV together. When Steve died from cancer she went downhill fast. When I was home this past summer it was easy to see that she had attached herself to Steve. I've watched her seek validation and approval from men for most of her life. I get it. I've been there too. I always sought approval from my ex, but it was wasted time when I should have sought self approval.

When Steve died it was the loneliness that dragged her into a dark place. If I had been with her once a week would that have been enough? That's going to haunt me. I've had friends and family tell me not to beat myself up. They tell me this because they care about me. I get it, but the thought is going to remain. I know there's no forgiveness coming from my mom, but the reality is it's the self-forgiveness we often need to keep us moving forward in life.

This has been tough on Wendy. She hasn't seen mom since last summer in Tacoma. Being around too many family members that day was an overload for mom. It was apparent she didn't remember everyone which caused her some anxiety. Seeing the mental decline has brought Wendy to tears this week. Hearing the details of their interactions has reinforced how mom has become infant-like. Her primary needs now are feeling safe and connected. She has a fear about "those people" coming to take her away and back to "that place". We're not sure exactly where that is, but my guess is the adult family home where she had her meltdowns. She talks about them hitting her and being mean. Of course that didn't happen, but your perception becomes your reality.

Wendy described sitting with mom and Billy. Mom asked where her sister was. I'm right here Nelda. Right beside you. Eventually after the sunglasses came off she gave a "Oh, there you are". I'm prepared for the idea that she might not recognize me when I get home this summer. Fortunately I'll have time to prepare my reaction and response. Wendy is getting to see what Moira has experienced over this last few months. Her Gram is gone, and the ghost that remains is a shadow of who she was. They were best friends for about ten years. Mom always described that ten years as the happiest time of her life. This hasn't been easy in Moira. My heart breaks for her having to witness all of this firsthand.

Well that all sounds a bit depressing, but the end result here is we're on a good path. Mom is doing well in her new environment and the staff there tell me daily that she's adapting well. No worries. She's comfortable and feeling much safer. Wendy has told me my uncle Bruce keeps telling her to give it some time and all will likely be well. It feels like he's right.

There's another hero in this story that needs a shout out. Mike Durkee, you're a steely eyed missle man. Mom mentioned you by name to Wendy this week. Mom said you saved her from that bad place. I know your mom isn't here to give you her nod of approval anymore, but know that she would be proud of the good you did this past week. Thanks brother.

I owe you one. I'll be sure to quit bringing up that double skunk in crib. Oh, did I say that out loud? That was my inside voice, right?

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