Last summer, I started a video journal at youtube.com which was about my experience living in Scottsdale, Arizona. I haven’t updated it in some time. I want to tell you why.
I’d left New York the previous fall to stay with my father in Arizona. He had recently been ill and wanted to spend the winter in Scottsdale. At first I just wanted to help him move and find an apartment. But as the time approached, I realized that I could use a break from NYC. I decided I would spend the winter with him. It wasn’t because I was being a good son. I did want to help my dad and it was a terrific opportunity to spend the kind of time with him that I’d never been able to do before. But I had other reasons too. My father is a poker player and intended to spend the winter at Casino Arizona playing hold’em. I had already been making a little money playing poker. It seemed like an ideal opportunity to see if I was good enough to be a pro.
It was a fantastic winter. Arizona is probably the best place to spend a winter in the states. The desert is beautiful. Nearly everyday is sunny and a day with a high in the 50s is rare. We played poker almost every day, my father’s health improved and we began talking about this winter when Dad would again return to Arizona. I decided to stay through the summer, continue to play poker and find a nice 2 bedroom apartment where my dad could join me when the weather in Illinois began to get cold again.
It seemed like a great plan and I set out enjoying my summer in the desert. Through meetup.com I found some great new friends. I also started making contact with the local improvisors in Phoenix. It was all working out until the summer. Just as my father’s health was improving, my mother’s was faltering.
She had been diagnosed with dementia the year before. In 2007, the disease started progressing more rapidly. At first I resisted returning home. I thought I could spend another winter in Arizona with my dad. I had hoped that my sisters could bare the burden back home while I looked out for him. But with every visit to Illinois, it became more clear that I was needed there. By the summer, mom was having great difficulty speaking. By Halloween she was having trouble walking. It was time to come home.
Now we are with her 24 hours a day. I’m first shift, taking care of my mom during the day, while my sisters are at work. My sisters cover the evenings, overnight and some extra hours on the weekend. We have decided to keep her at home as long as we can.
I’ve wanted to write about this experience for some time, but it’s a difficult thing to approach. I tried to make some videos about it, but discussing this via youtube just doesn’t feel right. However, I hope I can find the right way tone here. I’m also hoping to make some more videos soon. However, they will likely be about my hometown, rather than my mom.