Saturday, March 5, 2022

FODMAP works; Meet Thelma

Yesterday was just FODMAP diet, day two, but it’s already working. It’s miraculous! And it’s wonderful to be free of the fear of impending tortuous pain.

Friday began with a dog walk that was under grey skies, but it was warm, and the air was infused with wonderful scents—especially a smell like newly mowed lawn in parts of the forest. I’d brought each of my friends a bag of dog treats and a chocolate bomb, nicely wrapped in a polka dot bag. After the walk, I came home to prepare a dish for tonight’s dinner with Ali and Peter.

Then I did some ASL studying. I’d been away from it for a couple of days, and it felt very good to be back. I also prepped for my session with Gus at 4:00. Then I made myself a FODMAP dinner and spent the evening in front of the box. But I went to bed early to spend some time with Miss Penny before retiring for the day.

I also took some time to do another writing exercise. I haven’t had an email telling me to stop from my friends/readers. So meet Thelma.

The worse Thelma felt, the better she dressed. Often, on the worst days, she’d invite a daughter or daughter-in-law over for high tea and her grandchild or children would play in her yard. She wanted her family to see how well she functioned and looked so they’d stop suggesting she move into assisted living. 

“We worry about you,” they’d say. “We want you to be well cared for.” It would make her want to scream, but she’d just quietly say, “I’m fine here, dear.” And she’d pat her hand gently on the hand or arm of her son or daughter. She felt certain that moving her to a home would convenience them more than her. 

She stopped celebrating her birthdays ten years ago. They triggered another round of family members lobbying for incarceration. But milestone birthdays, like her upcoming 85th, could not be avoided, and she had a plan. 

She and Al, her dearly departed husband, had honeymooned at Falcon Lake Lodge and they had returned many times, often with the children. And so, she reserved and pre-paid for enough rooms for each of her children and their families, plus a few dear and loyal friends. And she chose the best rooms, the ones with a lake view. Plus, she’s arranged for a special birthday dinner for them all with chef Véronique, who’d promised to make her favourite dessert—a Diplomat cake. This would silence them; her party would prove her competence and silence her opposition.

Her best friend, Natalie, gifted her the invitations. They were gorgeous! On the back of the card, Thelma listed the days, time and events of her agenda: Friday: Check in after two, cocktails at 5:00 – 6:30, Cariboo Room, dinner and evening at their leisure. Saturday: Barbeque lunch at noon, Birthday cocktails at 5:00, followed by the birthday dinner. Sunday: Goodbye breakfast in the Reindeer Room 8:30 – 11:00.

Thelma and Maurice checked in to the lodge on Thursday so that they’d be fully charged for the party. Maurice is a long-time friend, gay and her lawyer; he travels with her whenever she vacations. She conscripted him to be her right-hand man during the weekend. They went early to the Cariboo Room. She’d asked for some tables to be set up and she wanted to scatter some family photo albums, framed photos, gifts from the kids and other things she’s saved. Then she went to a small table and a chair by the door to welcome her guests.

She looked incredibly good. Suzanne’s birthday gift was a make-over at Hampton’s. She loved her war face and the hint of colour she now had in her hair, but the mood of the room was set by her smile. No one knew how much of her joy was looking forward to going home to a clean home, solitude and no dishes. 

The family worked better when none of them were living together. Everyone was genuinely glad to be together. The party, on a scale of 1 to 10, was a 15. The proof was dinner, everyone spontaneously decided to eat together. They didn’t go to the restaurant, they had room service bring it to them so that they could party in private. What a great start! She went to bed very, very happy: happy to be alone, happy to be in such a big comfortable indulgent bed and with her plans.

The food arrived and the furniture was rearranged so that they could share the few tables. Everyone was still in full-on party mode. Around 8:00, the grandkids were all put to bed, and when everyone was re-assembled, Jay, her eldest clinked on his glass until he had everyone’s attention.

He made a speech to honour Thelma. He spoke well, he looked smart; his speech was funny and terribly, terribly moving, and he ended it by presenting the most beautiful bouquet of flowers she’s ever seen, and a kiss on the cheek.

Then Sam, Caryn, Maurice (that was a surprise), and then Nathalie. Natalie said that she and Thelma were secure in a profound friendship, so she was going to speak on behalf of someone else. And then she read from a letter Al had written to her about why he loved Thelma so much. It hit Thelma hard.

They chanted, “speech, speech,” but she stayed seated and motioned for everyone to sit down She was in no shape to make a speech. Yet. When dessert came, she had Maurice clink his glass as she stood to speak.

She started by promising to be short, and then thanked everyone for coming. Not to be outdone by Jay and empowered by her make-over, she made some family jokes between heartfelt thanks for all they’d given her. Then she said that she had an announcement to make about her relationship with Maurice. That got everyone talking—and gasping. And she took a little drink of water from the table to give them time to guess.

“I’ve given my power of attorney and representation to Maurice, so if you think I should be in a home, talk to him.” 

Hoya's are one of my favourite flowers.

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