Tuesday, September 27, 2011

There Is Less of Her

She's sleeping later and going to bed earlier.  Her chocolate is lasting longer because she seems to be eating less and less.  I'm not sure she remembers my name.

I read a book about old New York and I wanted to ask her if she remembered the Collyer brothers and their reclusive life on Upper 5th Avenue.  I couldn't remember if it was Ezio Pinza or Mario Lanza she'd seen on Broadway in South Pacific; I almost dialed the phone to ask.

A fellow resident of her pod-castle wandered into her apartment.  She became terrified according to the report, and called 9-1-1 to report an intruder.  I'm glad she has her self-protective skills at the ready, but I wonder if I should reverse 6 months of coaxing her to keep her door open and just shut it when I leave her in the morning.

Should I make myself go over every morning?  She's adorable lying in bed, snug as a bug in a rug, blankets held securely under her chin.  Her face is peaceful; without her glasses her blue eyes sparkle.  For a moment, I can forget what is lost and see only what is there.  It's a lovely time of day for both of us.

I think back to the hospital when she had her hip replaced and her mental decline began in earnest.  Her surgeon loved her; she reminded him of his mother.  I'd watch him hold her hand and stroke her shoulder and this woman who is the only person I've ever known to tell me enough while I was rubbing her back, this woman who was so protective of her personal space that a handshake was a big deal, this mother of mine was totally absorbed in his touch.  He complimented her skin and she accepted the words with grace.  They talked about her blue eyes and his mother's eyes and she basked in the knowledge that he thought she was gorgeous.

I was touched but somewhat surprised back then. Now it seems obvious to me.  She was there and sentient and, perhaps, a touchstone to someone he had lost.  It was beautiful and we all knew it.  A Moment.

That's the mommy I want right now.

I want to share searching for folding chairs for the wedding with her.  I want her advice on plant placement in my front yard.  I want her to be next to me in Barnes and Noble, picking out baby gifts for our manicurist's 3rd child, born on my half-birthday.  I want us to sign the card together.

But, as I sang to the Cuters, much to their dismay, You Can't Always Get What You Want.

I hate it when I've got to listen to my own advice.

The only person who would know how to respond to my 7 year old self is the reason my 7 year old self has re-emerged. This is a conundrum of epic proportions. I want her and I can't have her and I'm on both sides of the equation and it is quite confusing. I try to avoid wondering how frightening it is to be G'ma these days, not knowing where she is or why she is where she is.

I'm going to make her a memory book to read each morning along with her other bathroom activities. I've been resisting, because it still seemed that she was connected to the world around her. A tenuous connection, granted, but a connection none-the-less. But now the staff is mentioning that she is increasingly confused, and there's that pesky matter of recognizing me.

She says "Look who's here!" with joy and delight.
Though I'd love "Hi, Suz!" I'd settle for "Hi, sweetheart!"
I don't care what Mick says.... I WANT MY MOMMY!


  1. Oh, AB, I know it's been hard on you watching your mother's memory slip away. I think the memory book is a great idea. I'm sure she has lots of pictures up too in her pod castle. Hopefully that helps for her to recognize people. I haven't had to deal with this yet with my parents, so I'm not really certain what to do.

    Sending you a big virtual hug.

    Megan xxx

  2. Oh, sweetheart. I want her for you, too. May she be here for Little Cuter's wedding, dressed to match her eyes, secure on Big Cuter's strong arm, front and center to receive her court.

  3. I know this is so hard. Don't forget that she is happy, which is a huge blessing and was not the case with either of my aging parents. Sending hugs. xoxo

  4. I watched my own mother fade away in a similar manner. I took heart in the fact that she forgot bad things along with the good and lived out her last years happily in the moment.

  5. I remember watching my dad fade away, but the thing that made me the most happy was that he always smiled and seemed content. I hope that brings you some comfort. I still want my Dad, too.

  6. Nance showed me the way here. I liked the quote on her sidebar and was quite pleased to find a real person behind it.

    This is a sad and lovely piece - I can well imagine your distress at losing your mother by degrees. I lived through a similar experience with my own, but I couldn't let myself long for the person she had been. Writing about her started my blogging career - if that interests you, I'd be honoured to have you read this: http://temptationofwords.blogspot.com/2010/07/perfection-of-being.html


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