Monday, June 09, 2008

Things Have Come To That

Mother was asleep when I came to visit her. Just like she was yesterday. She sleeps a lot nowadays. I pulled up a chair. I hate to wake her so I pulled up a chair in case she woke up during the time I was there.

Her breathing was shallow. She was sleeping hard. So peaceful. So disconnected from my self-important world of ultimately petty cares. I watched Mother sleep. The phone buzzed.

Message from Mississippi: How's Mom?

Me: She's asleep. She's always asleep.

Message from Mississippi: At least you know she is in no pain. She's comfortable. That's good.

Me: Yeah. I guess.

Message from Mississippi: Trust me. It's good. It is as good as it can be.

About that time a nurse's aide came in. Said she needed to dry Mother off. Oh.

"They always sleep after their shower."

Like babies.

" You can come back in when I am finished. She will be awake then."

OK.

Phone buzzes again. Do I have time to talk about those releases I have been consulting with those other lawyers about?

Baby, all I got is time. Sure.

Nurse's aide says I can come in. I go in.

I wish my mother Happy Birthday.

"Is it my birthday?" she whispers. She is so weak she has no vocal production. I have to place my head near her mouth to hear anything.

I show her the flowers I bought her. I read the cards that were sent from her friends and relatives. She lies there with her eyes closed, a half-smile playing about her lips.

I stand by the side of the bed. I am leaning on the guard rails.

"85 is a long time Mom" I say. I added it up. It is 85. Thought it was 84. " You were born just after World War I. World War II would get started in Europe 10-15 years after that."

" That is a long time."

" But you know?"

" What?"

" Happy time for me."

" You were a girl on the farm."

"Um-hmm. She was so pretty."

" Who?"

" I can't talk."

Time for wild guess. "Charlsie?" I asked.

"Yes. We had fun."

Charlsie is her little sister. She didn't recognize her last Saturday. Things have come to that.

She yawns.

" You tired Mother?"

"Yes."

I kiss her cheek.

"Happy Birthday, Mama. I love you."

" You come check on me again real soon, hear?'

"Yes ma'am. I will."

She is asleep before I am out the door.

And I point the car back to Little Rock.

Happy Birthday.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Difficult to find the words to respond -- "I'm so sorry" might work better than anything else.

Knowing this about your mother always raises more questions than it answers. I mean, how many ways can we lose what we love before it's really gone? - for starters.

Thank you for sharing this part of your life -

lucy

Melissa said...

As a woman who lost her grandfather to Altzheimer's earlier this year, you have my sympathies. I'm so sorry you have to see this.

Sophmom said...

You write about it beautifully. It's an important secret, savoring our saddest, most difficult moments, life embraced, in this case, rather elegantly.

Thank you for sharing. You and yours will be in my thoughts and prayers.

floatydevice said...

Damn buddy...I'm not to good at this, but I just want you to know that I'm keeping you (and your mom) in my prayers.

tmfw said...

Thanks friends. Interesting time of life.

I hope I get hit by a bus before I have to go to the home.

But thanks to all who have checked in...I appreciate it.....