Those of you who follow me
will remember a few weeks ago
when I "divorced" my mother.
Soon after, I spoke with my niece.
She was overwhelmed and needed help.
So I packed up the van
and returned to mom's house,
where I now am staying,
caring for mom's house and her dog, Scooter.
I'm visiting mom daily and doing her laundry.
I'm paying mom's bills
and picking up her mail.
Mom is in a nursing rehabilitation facility
and isn't doing very well.
Her broken bones are healing,
but she is not eating, losing weight,
and growing more and more frail by the day.
I do not regret the week I spent away
because if nothing else,
I think it gave her time to think
about how things would be
if I DID go away forever.
Who would care for her?
It also gave me time to write
and let go of feelings
I had buried for years.
I have heard mom tell me she loves me
and appreciates me
more times in the past 2 weeks
than I have in all of my 66 years.
It has softened my heart
and has been very healing.
It's difficult to stay angry at someone
who is fading away.
It's sad love took this many years
I brought mom home
for a couple of hours yesterday
and we both realized
there was no way she was ready to be home.
I managed to lift the heavy wheelchair
out of the trunk,
and to get her out of the car seat
and into the wheelchair.
I'm no spring chicken and it wasn't easy for me.
I realized I could not lift that chair
or mom on a regular basis.
Mom is so weak,
she can't stand for more than a moment,
and helping her to the bathroom or into the bed,
even as slight as she is,
would be too difficult for me.
I would risk hurting myself trying to help her.
Then we'd both be in a pinch!
Mom did enjoy her few hours at home.
We sat out on the back porch in the sun.
She smoked about 1/4 of a cigarette,
then decided she had quit
and wouldn't smoke again.
This was a good thing.
She asked me to pour her a Pepsi,
and after a sip or two was finished.
She ate one grape.
She took a bite of string cheese and spit it out. Nothing tasted right, she said.
She closed her eyes
put her head back,
and soaked up the warm sun.
She said it felt so good!
I wheeled mom into her office
and put her in front of her desk.
She went through her mail.
We called the bank
and she balanced her checkbook,
something she usually does
every couple of days.
Mom wanted to lay in her bed
so I wheeled her into her bedroom.
That was an adventure,
as she didn't have the strength to lift herself.
The bed was too high,
so she laid across it
and I managed to lift her legs up onto the bed,
then roll her into the middle.
After about 1/2 hour,
she was ready to return to the nursing facility
and it depressed her,
as she realized she wasn't yet ready to be home.
Unless mom begins eating soon,
I can't see how she will ever come home
from the facility.
Each meal she manages to get about 1 bite down.
She complains that food makes her want to vomit,
and she just can't get it down.
She won't drink Ensure,
and has trouble getting down anything but water.
She is losing weight steadily
and her clothes are falling off.
She is cold all the time,
having no fat on her body at all.
I feel she is in the process of dying and it's sad.
Now that I'm no longer angry,
I'm remembering more of the good times
and fewer of the bad.
My prayer is that mom either begins eating,
grows stronger so she can return home,
or that if it's her time,
she dies peacefully in her sleep.
I hate the thought of her suffering.
This has really made me consider again
how fragile and how fleeting life is.
I've always been grateful for my life,
but it's even more precious now.
You wake up one day
and you're 21 and full of energy,
and then you wake up the next day
and you're 84 and failing.
When this chapter of my life closes,
I plan on doing more volunteering,
spending more time with my family.
More time loving.
More time laughing.
More time living.