After my last post, I was convinced that things would get easier. I had just bought my plane ticket to go home (I leave Thursday afternoon) and was hopeful that it might be smooth sailing until then. Boy was I ever wrong!
Sunday was a great day! After the meal, Emily, Maureen and I went ice skating in Center City and then had a great dinner and watched the Academy Awards over at Barb and Karen's house! It was really fun and relaxing!
Well then Monday happened. I was "trouble-shooter," which basically means that I stayed at the Inn from about 10:30am until 1pm when the coordinator showed up. Ordinarily this is a really laid-back time where that person can catch up on things that need to get done (like order paper goods) or do a little bit of cleaning around the Inn. This Monday, however, a guest came in and from then on, my entire afternoon was shot. Carlos, a regular guest that comes to the Inn, informed me that his wife Diana died the day before. We've been hearing stories about her and have seen pictures, but the three of us have never met her. She had a stroke awhile back and has been in a nursing home since. Carlos spends his days riding his bike from one side of the city to the other to see her and take care of her, often not leaving the nursing home until 11pm. Just within the past week, Diana's condition worsened and I think the rest of us knew her time was coming, but Carlos didn't want to accept it. When he walked through the doors on Monday, I knew something was wrong. I went up to him and, as usual, said, "Carlos, how's Diana doing today?" And all he could do was cry. I spent over an hour and a half with him, trying to console him and then figure out what the next steps would be. It was almost no use talking to him as his words were not making sense. Over the course of the afternoon, each of us took turns talking with Carlos and as the day progressed, Carlos began to deteriorate. His sentences weren't making sense, his emotions were manic and there was no use talking to him. He finally left, leaving us feeling drained.
At one o'clock, when Emily showed up to take over, I was able to slip out and come home and take a shower. I was certain that by the time I returned, Carlos would be gone and I would be able to plan mass and go about my day. Carlos was still there when I got back but Michael was talking to him so I was able to slip upstairs.
As I got to the top of the stairs, I saw Brandy (the young mom with the two little girls) sitting at the dining room table. She had been crying and the two little girls were running around. Come to find out, her situation had worsened as well and her drug-addict boyfriend (she'd previously said husband) got out of jail and went to their house. He cut up all her identification to prevent her from leaving and then left. She came to us asking us for help. After spending the day with Raven and Iana (her daughters), we managed to get her a train ticket to get back to Chicago to move back in with her mom. Jamie and I brought her and the girls to the train station very early this morning and saw her off as she departed for home.
It seems that, around these parts, once things start to get weird, there's just no turning back. It was one heart-breaking event after another that really wrenched my heart on Monday. I was fortunate to have Maureen looking after me so I didn't have to work the meal that evening, but came home feeling defeated. I am grateful that I was able to see Brandy off today, giving me hope for the possibility of happy endings.
I am exhausted today but think that I can hold out until tomorrow afternoon when I board the plane to go home. It was my intent to surprise my mom but with a little bit of miscommunication, she found out! Oops! Either way, it doesn't matter, because I'll get to be with my mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law tomorrow night!
In happier news, Emily, Maureen and I are looking forward to retreat! Less than two weeks and we could not be more excited to get away! It is really nice to be away with each other but not have Kensington as our background music and not having the obligation of work for a few days. We all desperately need the break and when next Sunday comes, we'll welcome even the 8 hour drive up to Mount Irenaeus with the assurance of rest and reflection! Oh yeah, and my aunt and uncle just made their reservations to come and visit at the end of March! I can't wait to see them and for them to see what I've been up to all this time!
Thank you all for bearing with me! I hope this doesn't bum you out as much as it took me down! Have a great weekend!!!