"I no longer hope for miracles," Mom said. "It seems that time has passed."
Dad hadn't answered when I called this evening so I tried Mom, finding her en route from delivering the girls to Brother's house. We chatted - prayer chains and Aunt's broken phone and mothers who don't feed or bathe The Ones in favor of passing the chore to over-burdened grandparents.
"I need you to stay on until I get home," she noted when there was a pause in the conversation and I nodded, telling her I understood. "Hold on," she directed and I heard her draw a breath before opening the door, both of us exhaling in relief when Dad called out a greeting.
I did the same today when I got home from work and Chienne didn't race to welcome me. I called. And called again. And once more before she crept from the basement, ears perked cautiously to listen for thunder.
"It stopped storming," I informed her, smoothing her coat and scratching her head. "Pretty unsatisfying overall," I continued of the rain that sputters and stops, attempting to cool the Midwest and deposit some desperately-needed moisture to our crops before seeming to sigh quietly in defeat and make way for more sunshine and incessant heat.
There is so much oscillation - a merciless give and take that offers hope and yanks it back with a cruel giggle.
I should not write that - God is good and loving and I'm praying. I appreciate any prayers you may have sent. We are immeasurably blessed and while my current situation can be excruciating - desperately miserable - it is not constantly so.
I laughed with Dad when he indicated he liked a certain commercial - sparing a moment's gratitude for the agency which designed it and offered a moment of lightness.
"I'm alligator man," he noted and I looked up to gaze at the reddened, wrinkled skin on his feet and lower legs, propped as they were on extra couch cushions.
"It's finally draining," I said encouragingly, rising to wash my hands and smooth the sore skin that has been stretched around massive edema for weeks.
But they refill when he lowers his legs to sit. And he's developing sores from sitting so much.
Mom sobs when she tells me - multiple times - of how he struggled to gag down some medication because his Potassium levels were elevated.
I beg him to eat, saying I know he's not hungry but he has to intake some calories.
Mom wept when I left yesterday, capturing the ever-elusive Mr. Sprout as he hissed and struggled and giving good-bye kisses through a small opening in my rolled-down window.
I returned to my house - its blessedly cool temperature and gentle quiet and access to solitude. And to a job that is uncertain in more ways than I can bring myself to explain.
I, like the rain, ebb and flow with my interest in these goings-on. I sometimes care deeply, my ambitious side emerging with vicious glee and manipulating everyone she can find. But those storms are brief and useless - my overall attitude to endure and reserve strength for what horror comes next.
But it's raining now - a sustained and heavy deluge. I'm left to hope that the shift with weather will do something for my mood as well.