At this very moment in time, I could use a good friend, someone to talk to – I would like some assurance my mother is going to be okay. I would also like some assurance that I am going to be okay. I am feeling like I am on shaky ground in caring for my mother. I mean, I do something wrong and she could die. Just like that. Say, she could choke on an ice chip and it would be all over.
Mother didn’t do a great job in caring for me when I was growing up. She was what some would call a functional alcoholic – that is she was able to do her job, which was teaching. She’d come home and then cook dinner. After, she’d begin drinking and later fall asleep on the couch. She would sometimes call people, mostly her mother – her personality was then different – she talked more, was more emotive.
Mother drank more – and harder stuff – on Friday evenings. We’d go out to a nearby restaurant and she would order 1, 2, 3 (in time) martinis. The situation got worse as I grew older. Seemed like she began drinking and did not know when to stop. I could not have friends over because she was a terrible house keeper. She also smoked heavily.
By her own definition, my mother was not an alcoholic because she took care of us kids, which means that she made sure we were fed. As for clothing us, our clothes were often dirty. And she was not a heavy or chain smoker because she did not light one cigarette to the other.
El and my mother always got along, and I was always on the outs. It’s even this way now. El is the primary caretaker and I’m here, on the fringes. Mother is most content when El is nearby.
I put the past behind me in writing Headwinds. Right now my mother is being very kind and loving, I think in part because she is enjoying being doted upon. But my caring for her (when El is away) – this makes me uneasy, and maybe her too.
So I am focusing on enjoying the lulls –that is the time when mother is sleeping. When she’s awak I need to be attentive and helpful. This does not come easily to me. It comes, but I have to dig down deep in order to get the job done right.
I don’t know what the immediate future holds for her. She’s rallying – now speaking in complete sentences. And her face lit up when earlier, I put Pete on the phone. She was also able to answer the RN’s questions, that is, her age, where she is, and who the current president is. Better yet, she gave the nurse a dirty look when she asked these questions because the answer was obvious. It was like she was saying, what do you think I am, stupid?
Maybe mother is being so loving because the truism, before we die we abandon our egos, is in this case a statement of fact. I have had moments, when I looked into eyes in which I saw nothing but love. What matters for her now is not the past or future, but the present.
Today mother’s regular doctor said that her death was inevitable to which she said “bullshit.” How inevitable is the unanswered question. I want her to stay here for a few days more and get the best possible health care.
I nearly got into it tonight with Uncle Bob who has not gotten the connection between poor health care and the need for health care reform. I had to refrain from saying what I thought because if our debate got heated, he might keel over and die. I would not feel bad about this because there is no love between us. But at this point, this would be a complication that we don’t need to deal with.
I am going to do watch tonight. I am sadly lacking these days in specificity of detail. I’m just getting by, writing wise and otherwise. I need to enjoy this lull because it isn’t going to last long.
Next: 87. 3/30/16: A Bicycle Named Wanda