I've had several requests already for the link to my fundraising site, so I want to go live as soon as possible. But the generic "Thank you for supporting the Alzheimer's Association New York City Chapter. Your contribution is greatly appreciated" doesn't do Mom justice, and I don't want anyone to contribute thinking I couldn't find the words - about Mom, about the marathon, about the overwhelming sense of gratitude I feel for their support.
Thing is, for something so personal that I've discussed countless times with family and friends, I've never actually had to write anything down for public consumption. If people ask me how Mom is doing and I don't feel like talking about it, I give a wishy-washy answer like, "Oh, good days and bad days," or "Same ol, same ol" and kind of leave it at that. (Most people don't want details anyways, because there's never anything really positive to say.) I'm still paralyzed by this need to be articulate and polished and evocative, that will inspire people to donate more than they originally intended to do...but it's hard to fit a raw, awful, messy, ambiguous situation into a neat little presentable word package. I'm not sure it's even something I WANT to do, because doing so indicates some level of comfort with the situation...and I'm still anything but comfortable with it. I'm not even sure I ever want to be.
And this is where the confusion takes a darker turn, because when it all comes down to it, this is starting to feel an awful lot like an obituary for someone who isn't actually dead yet. I don't want to offend anyone by saying this, but the Mom-ness isn't there anymore even though she's still alive. To what degree she's "still in there" I'm not certain - her eyes light up when she sees me sometimes and I think that deep down, she knows who I am...but then I watch her struggling with other things she did effortlessly her whole life (going up stairs, say) and realize it's probably more coincidence than anything else. But she is still very much alive in the vital signs sense of the word, and in writing about her like she's gone, I can't help but think of the "Bring out your dead!" Monty Python scene, where the man in the wheelbarrow screams, "I'm not dead yet!"
As a result, "I'm not dead yet!" has been running through my head on a loop all afternoon, blocking any hope of logical thought on the matter. Mom used to tell me that my voice carried when I spoke, and that if I couldn't remember to talk softly, I needed to watch what came out of my mouth. Maybe this is one of those times. But that's all I can think about.
I'm beginning to think that when it comes to the New York City Marathon, the running - and writing about the running - might actually be the easy part. I have 5 miles on the schedule for this evening. Maybe that'll help me get some clarity.