Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Frequent Flyer

Everyone tells me my mother is slipping. This week on the phone, she was very confused, forgetting that certain friends had already passed on, unable to fully enunciate some of her words. I see the same markers I saw with my aunt who just died, but we don't mention this to my mother, as it would only frighten her and make her brood. Ninety-two on her last birthday in January, she lives now with my brother and his wife, both doctors. They suspect a neurological condition that is affecting her motor control, and while she is getting treatment, they are not naming it to her.

She used to call me every morning, but now she doesn't have the strength in her fingers to press the keys, so she sits in her chair and waits for me to call, and when a day passes that I don't call, I feel horribly guilty, but when I do call lately, the conversation is difficult, she can't catch what I say, I can't hear what she says, and when I put down the phone I feel ineffably sad. I'm aware that time may be getting shorter even as I pray this latest decline is born of grieving her big sister, and she will rally.


I know I am one of the lucky ones. She has been a wonderful mother to us and grandmother to my children. And I still have her here. That's why I am going to visit her in Jamaica later this month, even though I just got back from St. Lucia where I was taking care of her business while my daughter and her friends did the beach thing for their spring break. She used to be the frequent flyer, jetting around the Caribbean with her bionic knees, traveling to New York, Florida, Toronto, Vancouver to see her large extended family. Now she is so frail she could not make the trip last weekend to memorialize her beloved sister, and that has sent her spiraling down. I hope I can cheer her up. I'll have to be the frequent flyer now.


8 comments:

  1. It is so very, very hard to see such bright flames dim and yet, with all of us- if we are lucky enough to live a long life, it is going to happen.
    I wonder why it is always so unexpected when this is just the way of life? Do we truly all believe that we and the ones we love are truly going to be immortal? Somehow, we do. And we suffer all the more for it.
    Well. Fly while you can. The need for real touch never dims and that is what you can still give your mother and that she can still give to you.

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  2. It is never easy to watch our parents age. As their children we always see them bigger than life and able to take care of us and the world.

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  3. I can't imagine how difficult all this must be for you. I am undone at the passing of my uncle and you have so much coming at you all at once. All I can say is hold on tight. Hold on.

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  4. Oh, Angella. Those are such tender, beautiful photos of your dear mother. How arduous this all must be yet how necessary.

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  5. Our roles reverse with our parents as they age. You continue to do for her what she can no longer do for herself. Sending love to you both.

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  6. Grief. We just can't get beyond it. There is no age when it can no longer ambush us, unless we lose our minds (and maybe that is the one good thing about dementia). I hope your beautiful mother, once so strong and active, will make her way back from this loss. She will be so happy to see you, to hold close the life she made. I'm glad you're going.

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  7. I'm so sorry. I am glad you will be going to visit soon. I wish I had some clever words of comfort to offer you.

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  8. I'm sorry to hear this about your mom. I hope you enjoyed your visit with her, and bravo to you for going. As you once told me, we'll never regret making these visits!

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