“Time to rise and shine, mom”
“already?” she said in her weak humorous morning voice.
We went through our normal morning process of getting her up and dressed and washed up and ready for her day at daycare. (She will be starting back full time on Monday and it will be good for her, and for me, I thought. Everything had been extremely difficult since she broke her shoulder.)
I put her walker in front of her as we were walking out of the bathroom, (otherwise she would walk around it) and guided her into the kitchen.
“whoa, careful mom, you seem a little wobbly this morning”
“do I?, I think I’m wobbly every morning.”
“ok, here ya go, here’s your water, take your pills.” (her pills consisted of an antidepressant, a multivitamin and a vitamin b-12, pretty darn amazing at 90, right)
I walked back to the coffee machine to get her coffee and I turned around to see mom staring off in the distance, unblinking, with the remnants of the pink b-12 tablet still on her lips…………. and I knew. I knew nothing really but I did know something was not right and I ran over to her , I hugged her and held her into my side as I called 911.
“what is your emergency”
“hi, I’m pretty sure that my 90 year old mom is having a stroke”.
The next 5 days were hard. She never spoke again.
“It was probably the last 7 or 8 years of your life that it really got challenging for you. Don’t get me wrong, you had many challenges throughout your life, but I mean as far as the aging process goes. The memory loss, difficulty walking, incontinence, the inability to drive, you know what I mean.”
I was told that in time, these most recent, most difficult memories for me would fade away and the good memories would surface. Although I will never forget “those moments” on “that morning” I do recall, daily as a matter of fact, a lifetime of pretty fantastic memories that we shared. I will always consider myself the most fortunate/blessed/grateful person to have had my mom as my best friend.
Yes the memories are amazing, but, what I struggle with the most is;
just being able to talk with you, to run my ideas by you, or get your thoughts on my next business venture, or talking about how we are going solve the latest world problems, our day to day often times nonsensical chats.
But it’s really not just that either……the things I struggle with, well, it’s more like, what you said to each of these thoughts, or your reactions to ideas, to my thoughts and your subtle encouragement with a half grin on your face as if you were saying “what is she going to do now”. My sounding board, for those times I needed to vent about absolutely anything because you always let me and thoughtfully listened and calmly responded. Those days when I would just be grumpy about one thing or another and you had a way of simply acknowledging and allowing me to recognize that sometimes being grumpy is okay. Your understanding look of compassion and concern to the various challenges I often times faced. The gentle touch of your hand on my shoulder or sometimes the not so gentle smack on my arm, both at times when I knew you understood what I was thinking, meant more than I realized. Your smile, most of all, the one that needed no words, it was in your eyes, it was the comfort I needed, the understanding I needed, the acknowledgment I needed, the genuine love that you showed me and I felt it.