Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Handwriting on the wall....

I had my mum over last night for dinner. She's carrying a lot more weight these days, not sure why, but it's really stressing her back out. She seems older, frailer than her 73 years. I need to get her hair done. Heck, I've been wearing my braids for months, I'm not sure why. Anyways, after dinner, she was up to writing her grandson a letter. I dictated the letter to her. I noticed her handwriting was smaller, more scrawly, not as sure as it was a year ago. It's harder for her to write down her own thoughts. I took a closer look at it and I could barely read some of the words. This was not good. I think even she knew, but I encouraged her. And I had a glass of wine. We both like our booze.

I didn't want her to see my emotion play over my face, so we carried on another attempt. Not any better, but it was better than nothing. I tried to get her to print, but she wasn't taking that information in. Seeing the letters will make my sister sad. For years, I'd keep certain things about my mum to myself. Can't do that anymore. I used to, but then the sadness would fill me up. When I took her home, she wanted me to stay until she had changed into her pyjamas. Sometimes I can't wait to get out of there. You have to get a staff member to key the elevator so you can leave and if there's no one about, you have to go looking for them which means you have to go down the long hallway and have your mum trailing behind you. And then I have to leave her again, the elevator doors closing on her face. Again. I had to fight my irritation and help her put her pyjamas on. I resent her growing frailty. I resent it when she can't put on her shoes and zip up her coat. It scares me. Any decline in her status quo reminds me that I am that one step closer to losing her. Pretty soon she'll have a walker and going for a walk will be that much more difficult. I haven't made funeral arrangements. Which one do I use? Which one would be nicer?

As grateful as I am to have her still with me, I am increasingly aware that I am weary of being in charge of her. What a great mum I'll be, eh? Hey, sweetie, can you pour mummy's little helper into a plastic tumbler?

I know I will have to take care of both her and a little one. At least she's given me some practice. I'm going to have a kid one day and I just want to be able to ask for her help. I can't. The only problem with being a strong, black woman is that there are days you don't want to be strong. And yes, I know, that when that day comes, I will just dig deeper and find the strength that is there. I know it's there because my mother put it in me.

4 comments:

Wordgirl said...

Oh.

I have tears in my eyes. This is such a beautiful post -- all of your posts are beautiful and thoughtful -- and the ones where you've written of your mother just lift off the screen with such power and intensity.

Mothers are so complicated and heartbreaking aren't they? There are certain scenes with my mother as an adult that I just can't go to in my heart because it is so raw -- because it marks the reversal of things somehow, and it's, on some level, terrifying.

I remember reading about how they are bringing together eldercare and daycare in a symbiotic relationship -- and how it's helping everyone...

I often wonder if my mother will know my children, and if so, for how long.

Life. (Deep Sigh)

A beautiful, touching post...

and thank you for your encouragement and thoughtfulness...

Pam

chicklet said...

It's tough isn't it, when you see them getting older, and the way things change? It's really hard. Really really hard. I'm fortunate that my mother's far away so I don't have all the wear and tear from it, but when she is here, it's way tougher than it used to be.

loribeth said...

(((hugs))) I agree with Pam, your posts about your mother are so powerful. My parents are still relatively young (in their late 60s) & in good health, but I can remember similar scenes with my grandparents not that long ago. It's hard to see the people we love grow old & frail. :(

Foreverhopeful said...

A very touching post. I can only imagine how hard it is to watch your mother get older and no longer able to do things. My parents are still relatively young but my dad had cancer last year and that was quite the scare. I know its a part of life but its still hard to watch our love ones get older.