Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vacation Daze

We are home from Pittsburgh. The ‘Burgh is my home town and this was John’s first visit so I felt some pressure to have the City of Champions make a good first impression. And it did.

That’s the pleasure of going home as an adult and as a tourist—I know what I wanted to show off so we stayed on the waterfront downtown and visited the The Scaife Mellon Art Museum and the Carnegie History Museum (my refuge as a kid) and we ate very, very well. We took the incline for dinners up on Mount Washington and the trolley to breakfasts down in the Strip Yards. And the best part for both of us was watching the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Miami Marlins at PNC Park. Beat ‘em Bucs!

So many memories. Most of them good. But I also found myself narrating my caregiving history as we traveled around Pittsburgh: “This is the hospital where my mother was first admitted; this is where I brought her after her stroke; this is where she lived in her coma; this is the hospital where Larry was finally diagnosed; this is the hospital where I brought Larry every week; this is the hospital where he died.”

And there were other things that I did not say to John but that came back to me in such vivid memory: the route from the airport when I came every other weekend to take care of Sig and then Larry; the restaurant where he fell down and couldn’t get back up and my ache for him over his humiliation; where I shopped on what turned out to be the day of his last hospital admission; the hotel in Oakland where I stayed all those nights so that I could walk to the University Medical Center.

e.e. cummings say that our lives are measured in tea spoons but I measure mine in hospital visits and loved ones cared for.

It was fun to be in Pittsburgh as a tourist and not a caregiver—to reclaim my hometown as an arts rich, sports fanatic metropolis. To perhaps balance the other memories by making summer vacation memories there with John.

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