Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I woke up this morning with the deepest ache, and then my thoughts turned to the old ones, especially my mom and my Aunt Winnie, who are so frail and lonely now, and I don't spend enough time with either of them, my mom because she is overseas, and my aunt because I work too much, and come home after she is asleep for the evening. We used to talk by phone on such days, I would call her from work, but now we can no longer do that, she makes sounds I don't understand, they are speech sounds, and they really sound as if I should be able to understand what she is saying, but I don't. In her presence, I do better. I can understand whether she is speaking from a place of light or dark, depending on the arrangement of lines on her face, the playful humor or pinched regret in her still clear green eyes.

I wonder sometimes, do we feel the ache first like a chemical sorrow, and then we look for reasons?

More reasons. This month will make two years since my mother in law died. How is that possible? I lay in bed missing her so much this daybreak. She was the loving force that held us together, and I miss the way we all were when she was here. I realized this morning that my husband will be alone in New York on the anniversary of her leaving us. I want to be with him, it is the day after Father's Day, but there is somewhere else I need to be, and it is the only week I can get there. My daughter and I are going to visit my mom in St. Lucia for a week. This may well be our last trip to St. Lucia to visit with my mom in her home as she may finally be too frail to stay alone there.

My mom has worked out a system where someone comes in and stays with her at night, but the days are lonely. Her sainted housekeeper of many decades is occupied taking care of her husband who suffered a stroke two days before my mom returned to St. Lucia this last time. She didn't tell my mom what had happened until she arrived, afraid that my mom would decide not to return home. But of course, she has to attend to her husband, my mother wants her to attend to him, but now there is no one to help my mother most days except kind neighbors and friends who may or may not drop by. Like me in New York, they are trying to keep up with their lives, with work and raising children and managing their households. I get it. But I ache for the way my mother's life has been reduced by her waning ability to do for herself.

She can't really lift a plate from the microwave to the table, so even though her meals are lovingly prepared and left for her, she still needs the help of another human simply to dine. My brother is coming to get her to take her back with him to Jamaica in early July. My daughter and I decided we needed to get there before my mother leaves her beloved house next to the beach in St. Lucia, where she and her grandchildren spent so many charmed summers, just in case it is the last time.


  1. this time of our lives is so hard. my parents are gone and it's still hard. hang in...


  2. Oh, Angella. It's so hard, I know.

    Two nights ago my mom said her tv wasn't working. Over the phone, I couldn't help her figure out what was wrong, and after we hung up I cried. Greg tried to make me feel better, saying it's just a tv and my brother and sister can help her fix it or get a new one, and I tried to explain to him how heartbreaking it would be for her to sit in her little apartment, alone in the quiet, unable to watch Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy. Mom doesn't have very many things to do anymore, the lack of even one thing leaves such a big hole in her life.

    And everything is so much harder when you're far away. I hope your upcoming visit is wonderful, and eases your heart.

    Oh, and Greg managed to perform a miracle and fix her tv over the phone: it turned out she had accidentally changed the tv channel to 5, and it needed to be on 3 to hook up with the cable. I won't tell you how I paid him back for that one...

  3. My heart aches along with yours, dear Angella. No matter where we are, there is always someplace else that we are needed. Go to your mom, love.

    Biggest hugs.

  4. I wrote about this tonight- the overlapping duties and how we have to choose.
    It is so hard.
    I am sure, though, that going to see your mother is the right thing.
    Bless you, darling.

  5. Thinking of you and praying for your Mother.

  6. I do know how hard it is. A few years ago, my grand mother was still independant, and only needed a cleaning help once a day, because she could still cook and bathe herself. And then, three years ago, at the age of 93, she suddenly stopped being able to and it was frustrating for her because she still can very much think on her own, watch tv, read, talk, but small things such as showering and making coffee had become impossible. And it made me understand that she wouldn't be there forever. After living a year at my aunt's house, she decided to move to a retirement home, because she loathed the dependancy and the burden on her daughter, and also because she wanted to be around people her age. She's doing ok, eventhough she is logically declining. It's a tough time for all of you Angella and I am sorry. And I am happy that you are going to St. Lucia (that I've been to, by the way, and absolutly adore!).
    As much as this feels like the end of a time, your history with Saint Lucia is a continuous one and your mom will probably be better surrounded by family. Breathe it in while there! And thank you for your continuous kindness. It means more that you might ever understand.

  7. You are all in my thoughts and in my heart.
    God bless you and your loving family, my dear friend.
    Sending love ~

  8. Michelle, thank you, dear one. love.

    ellen, i understand how you felt down to my bones. I know, i know. love to you, my dear friend. all i can say is greg deserved whatever lovely payment he got...hehe

    Debra, yes, yes. but we can't be everywhere and we have to choose. that is the heartache of it. love.

    Ms. Moon, sometimes when everything and everyone is needing something at the same moment, i feel like i will just about disintegrate. but we don't, do we? instead we put on our big girl panties and we do what needs doing. that's the miracle and the grace of it. hugs to you, dear Mary. I know getting your mom settled is hard.

    Mark, thank you brother dear! (Soon, people will think we truly are related! Lucky me.)

    Miss A, bless your grandmother, and bless you, for your kindness always.

    Gabriele, my friend, thank you. hugs.