The training included all those things, but focused on the conversations that need to happen when a parent is healthy and then when the normal aging process begins to take its toll. The "four pillars" of such conversations might be Home, Health, Finances, and Legal.
I've participated in numerous mediation trainings, both before I was certified as a mediator and since that time. This one was the hardest for me, for a couple of reasons. First, I'm an elder myself now. And second, Art had a health event in January that got me thinking about the next stage of life. I've already been through the decline and passing of both my parents, so I could evaluate those processes in the light of my training this weekend. For the most part, our family did okay, but not as well as we could have.
I've been thinking about whether we might be experiencing "the new normal". Art recuperated well from his cardiac arrest, but still has very occasional arrhythmias that have been picked up by his pacemaker. Our home medical team wants to find out what's going on. So Art had an appointment with a cardiologist last week, and he has upcoming ones with an internal medicine person for his low potassium and with a cardiac physiotherapist for the arrhythmia. I'm grateful for the excellent medical services available where we live and I have confidence in his medical team. But I am a worrier about health and an inveterate question asker. I have a list of questions in my head for each of the docs to be seen in the next two weeks.
The hitch is that I have an opportunity to be part of a team of facilitator/mediators to be "fourth responders" to victims of the Oso mudslide. We get required FEMA training on Thursday and Friday of this week, then more flexible work assignments in the community for at least the month of May and possibly extending to August. It would be a nearly full time, paid job. As soon as I heard about this project I signed up to learn more about it. Like the universe sent it my way, you know. But I want to go to Art's appointments with him. I wondered whether the universe wants to distract me from health worries by putting me in a place where I'm needed and where I can make a difference. So far I don't know. There's an orientation meeting tomorrow and I'll find out more then. I told Art I need to know the questions and the answers from his Thursday appointment, when he'll be in Bellevue at the clinic and I'll be in Darrington at the FEMA training. He said he'll think about how to do that for me. I know he wants me to do the FEMA thing, so I expect he'll come up with something.
It's a two and a half hour drive to Darrington. I've decided to stay in a motel up there for two nights this week. I have energy and stamina, but I think 13-hour days (including the drive) might do me in.
And on about May 15 my sister Alyx and her husband Virgil arrive from Anchorage in their motorhome. Alyx has a new job here and Virgil is just about to secure one. They were ready to leave Alaska and want to live closer to us. They'll be parking their RV on our property for three to six months while they get situated. We have never lived close to each other so it's an exciting but scary time.