Okay, this is going to sound stupid but I have never really thought about my mother dying. I know she is 88-years old. But honestly, somewhere after my sister and father died, it seemed my mother and I would just continue on along. Her siblings passed away-all of them. Her three sisters that she was closest to; Nova, Betty and Bill (yes, she had a sister named Bill) died several years ago. And again, it was just like she and I would continue on. Until what, I cannot say. Somehow it felt like I couldn’t possibly die because losing another daughter would be way too hard on my mom. And she couldn’t die, well, just because I guess I never confronted it before.
Yesterday, I got over to visit her and found her with all the other woman, sitting in the main lobby. When the front door opens, all their heads swivel towards the door to see if perhaps their very own visitor has come to see them. Mom even complained of her neck hurting which I believe is from the constant turning and looking over her shoulder to the door. The longing on her face palatable. It is not unlike going to the daycare to pick up your toddler. Each child anxiously looks toward the door in hope it is their parent who has finally come to pick them up.
I went to sit with her. I had seen her the last four days in a row. Probably the first four day stretch in a row I had spent with her since we went on vacation together to Steamboat in 2002. So, it wasn’t that I hadn’t seen her in a long while. But she looked startling different. First, she was dressed in a goofy outfit. She had on black ankle socks with black little shoes. She was wearing white summer capris and a hot pink shirt that was on backwards. And she was just so anxious. She did not remember I had been there the last few days or that we went out to brunch on Sunday.
When she stood up for me to hug her goodbye I noticed how small and frail she is. I realize that I look like a Chicago Bears fullback in the pictures with my mom. I am not that big. I may be a little big but she is also extremely small.
I guess it was then that it hit me that she is really not well. And she is really fragile. I don’t know how much time I have with her. It was the first time I really thought she could die anytime. Made me scared. When did this all happen, I wanted to shout? When did my mother disappear?
I guess I am glad I have not confronted this before. I am happy she is here for whatever time she has.
Postscript-In an ironic turn (based upon her outfit du jour) she had been given an award for the “best dressed” resident-who was “pretty in pink”. Either they did not see her outfit today or based upon some of the others, it still rated high enough to buy her the title.