Tuesday, July 10, 2012
It's two days before the fourth of July and my family is headed out for a beach trip. I want to say a quick goodbye to mother, knowing that I will be away from her for the longest time since her entry into the nursing home. I have purposely chosen a time when she will be finished with her lunch and I can do my usual of curling her hair while we "chat." I hurriedly head up the hall, thinking I will find her sitting next to her new found "husband." For the past several months now, mother has chosen a poor unassuming gentleman who resides at the home, to be her deceased husband "Yates." Not long ago, I came for a visit and there she sat, next to "her Yates." I said, mother come on, let's go up the hall and sit in the front room." She gave me a look that would kill and said "we can't leave Yates here!" Assuring her that he would be alright, I began to push her wheelchair forward. Mother grabbed the nearest thing in sight, the big toe of a lady in her reclining chair. The woman began to holler "OH, OH" until a worker came to the rescue. Today, I glance in mother's room as I pass by. Instead of her bed made, I see someone lying in there. Stopping in my tracks, I turn and go in. There lays mother, breathing very short, hard breaths. I am concerned and see that her roommate is just outside the door. "What is wrong with mother?" I ask. She begins to inform me that mother has been up all night with a stomach virus. I then walk down to the nurse's desk and inquire. The nurse confirms the information. Returning to her bedside, I stroke her forehead and sit at the foot of the bed. Barely able to speak and visibly ridden with discomfort, mother orders me to "go, or you'll catch it too!" Here she is, can hardly remember if I've been there or not 5 minutes after I've left, or anything about anything, but she can still remember to be my mother, with instincts of protecting her child. For months now, as I sit and visit with my mother, I can feel the ties that have always bound us together as mother and daughter, wavering. Struggling to see the mother that I once idolized in this thin shell. Today, I leave the home with a renewed idea that I still have a mother that wants to protect me. If we're honest, no matter how old we get, we will all have that need to be loved and protected by our mother, til we die.