getting older is not for sissies
I found this out as my Mother aged
didn't really have a Mother in the true sense
Mom wasn't good at boundaries
at figuring out where one person
started and the other ended
she was kind of like a sister but
she was more like a good friend really
as a Mother she wasn't the best at it
she tried but she was more like a chum
fun and funny and at times needing a
confidant and lots of cheering up
and a shoulder to cry on
then something happened when I wasn't around anymore
my own life had gotten so complicated I hadn't noticed
that was not like me
not to notice things..
my Mother had started to disappear bit by bit
the first time I saw it was when she
came to visit us in Oregon
she arrived at the airport
with a very light suitcase
it was empty...no medications, clothes, shoes
all she had on were the clothes she had on
and her glasses to see
the glasses didn't seem to be helping
her to see what was obvious
I didn't know this had happened
right away as my youngest brother was
the one who always hosted her visits
I found out later in a restaurant
at breakfast as she sat to my left eating
her flapjacks with only butter
smiling and nodding during
our conversation about her
occasionally entering and exiting the
conversation with an interjection placed
here and there
all I could do was reach over and squeeze
her cool well manicured hand
I was so afraid she was going to disappear
I felt like an ass for talking about her
like she wasn't there
it was such bad manners
much later on back in Fargo something happened
which changed everything
one night she fell and fractured
she lay pinned to the floor
in agony for 3 nights and 3 days on her left side
on her apartment floor during a very cold winter
in North Dakota in January
when a phone rang and she pulled it
onto the floor...her friends contacted
both the police and us and then we knew
just how serous her situation was
early onset Alzheimer's
was not the first diagnosis
initially she had an extreme UTI
and the usual garden variety diagnosis of
bi-polar with major depressive features
how I despise the inexactness of science
the coolness of it at times
never mind how old she was
she was young and two years before had been
still roller blading and cross-country skiing
but my lovely dutiful youngest brother
flew to Fargo and packed up her entire life
and apartment to be transferred to Oregon
she never went back to her life/friends
I could talk so much about the initial
challenges...I wasn't there for most/
all of them. I'd been there for Mom
before when she'd had her emotional breakdowns.
When I'd picked her up off the floor
and carried her to bed and watched her
go to sleep. When I'd rocked her to sleep
like she was my own child. This was
harder. This was different.
She didn't know me anymore at first.
Especially after the surgery.
She was outwardly angry. I don't think
she understood what was going on.
outward manifestation of an inner unspoken
frustration? I could only guess.
Eventually, she was placed a rehabilitation center
where Catholic nuns worked with her. I have
and issue with the word "placed." But it was called Mary's
Place. These women were angels in the sense of
their patience humor and understanding. I rarely
did not see them without a smile. Sounds like
television doesn't it? My Mom must've won the lottery
on this one. It turned out to be the right place for
her to begin her healing. She had to learn to write again.
I didn't understand this cognitive part.
She was living in a locked unit for her safety.
She was reed-thin, tiny and pale. Vulnerable
looking...all large green eyes and freckles.
Dressed in her Lantz pj's and slippers.
It took 3 buses and 1 train to see her.
One day when I came in she looked up and
recognized me. Called me Missy. A name
I would normally despise. That day it
was catnip to me. I could have balled.
But I kissed her all over her face.
It was as if she was waking up from a
dream. After that, she got cranky.
We knew she was getting better then.
"Why am I in this damn place, she would
ask me? What's wrong with these damn people?
But these nuns sure are nice to me.
But why are they being nice to me?"
I would have emptied my bank accounts
for that moment of recognition. The
day she called me by my despised moniker,
the moniker I used to hit neighborhood kids
in the chops for, if they attached any bad
words to it.
I would empty my bank accounts to have
that moment again, but she is gone now.
She died suddenly and without any explanation.
She had just turned 70. She was mentally
getting more clarity each day. We should have had
more time. Some one told me, reminded me that
there are no "shoulds" in this world; they were
trying to be gentle. It does not feel gentle.
This still pains me to this day.
rough draft....prose to be turned into some semblance of a narrative
Copyright Sept 18, 2014 All Rights Reserved By this Author
Meloo/Melissa A Howells copyright Tilt-a-World
All ideas/prose/poetry/rants are the legal property of this Writer
UTI means urinary tract infection, a medical term/acute
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