1. Sit down with him earlier in the week so you can make a list of things needing to be done before he leaves: stock up on insulin, test strips, etc., call about switching Medi-Cal providers, call UCSF about moving, new pharmacy, write down new address for parents, get boxes for packing, pack.
2. Buy a mattress cover and new sheets because you don’t know where that used mattress he’s acquiring has been and just because.
3. Two days later, remind him about “the stuff on that list.”
4. His last day at home, rise early to whip up some crepe batter – it’s best if the batter has at least 30 minutes to rest before cooking. (1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter, 3 T sugar, dash salt: blend well)
5. Prep for your upcoming conference, work on your freelance column and otherwise do as much work as you can while everyone is sleeping so you’ll have the most time possible with the family on this momentous day.
6. Knock on his door, stick your head in, suggest he get up soon because there’s so much to do. Like pack. And eat. (Don’t mention the list.)
7. Do not be bothered by how unenthused he is.
8. Do be concerned that his blood sugar level is awry, especially since last night he mentioned needing to do a set change and wanting to wait till morning so would you just give him a shot?
9. Bug him again about getting up.
10. Bite your tongue when he snaps at you.
11. When he calls you, a few minutes later, from bed, to ask if you would inject another round of insulin for him, ask him what his blood sugar is.
12. When he says he knows it’s high and the number doesn’t matter, explain that it does. Obviously. We’ve been doing this for years.
13. Be grateful when he does check and matter-of-fact about the fact that it’s over 460 and try to stay patient when he says he’ll just do the shot himself.
14. Try to not think about how he’s moving 600 miles away tomorrow and who is going to watch out for him?
15. When he continues to be stomp around and then mumbles something in your direction, don’t snap, “What? Can you speak so I can understand you?”
16. When he responds by saying, “Go fuck yourself,” walking away, and slamming the door, remember that hyperglycemia messes a guy up.
17. Don’t take it personally.
18. Remember the two surf sessions earlier in the week, all grins and gratitude.
19. Don’t cry.
20. Tell yourself it’ll be fine later, when he feels better.
21. Chop up an apple, sauté it in butter with dash of salt, splash of almond extract, handful of sliced almonds.
22. Place a nonstick or seasoned crepe pan over medium heat with a little unsalted butter.
23. Stir the batter and pour about 2 tablespoons into the pan, lifting the pan off the heat and tilting and rotating it so that the batter forms an even, very thin layer.
24. Cook until the top is set and the underside is golden.
25. Turn the crepe over, using a spatula or your fingers and cook until the second side is lightly browned.
26. Slide it onto a plate and top with apple mixture, then roll it up.
27. Drizzle heavy whipping cream on top.
28. Stand in the kitchen, alone, and eat.
29. Even if what should be delicious is hard to get past the lump in your throat.
30. Don’t cry.
There was an apology. Much later. And I made cookies, but the crepe batter still sits in the fridge. We leave tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. I will drop him off in Willow Creek and hope he and his friend make it safely to Santa Barbara from there. And hope the world is kind and that his best self, the kind and funny and hard-working self, has occasion to rise. And that he remembers how much better proactively managing his diabetes is. But I am terrified. This letting go feels like my insides are being yanked out. I would convince myself God existed if I thought praying would do any good. Alas, I am bereft of faith and have only my inherent optimism and the wise words of others to cling to. “You have raised him well,” they say. “He’s a smart kid, ” they say. “You can tell what a good, solid guy he is – he’s going to be fine,” they say. So I hope. So I hope.