Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reflecting on Mom From A to Z

Like usual, I am behind on doing my posts. Reflections on the A to Z Challenge were supposed to be completed by last night. Even if I weren't behind as it is, it feels more appropriate to post this on Mother's Day.

I just hung up with my mother. She has no concept of it being Mother's Day, let alone the fact that she is a mother. I do not exist in her world anymore. They put her on the phone and she could hardly complete a sentence, let alone a thought. There were lots of "Um, uhhh, I forget the word" and lots of trailing off. I was able to translate some of it and fill in the blanks. I know what she would have said had it been even a year ago. She just can't do it anymore.

The nurse said that she is doing well, though, as far as her health is concerned - as much as she can, anyway. She has had no problems with breathing nor any other signs of the blood clot since she got out of the hospital. So, the long goodbye and slow neurological degeneration continues.

Last year, I started this blog in honor of the A to Z Challenge. Dad and I were going to work on it together, but life had other plans. I did do several posts in honor of my mother and our journey. This year, I managed to complete it in time for the end of the challenge. It felt good to try to think about the good times with my mom. I enjoyed honoring her memory. I did the same for my dad over on Montessori Writer's Thoughts. I have shed a few tears through the process, but it was cathartic. I will probably do something again next year.

Here are the links from this year's challenge. Following this list are last year's posts, as well.

A is for Acceptance
B is for Bookkeeping
C is for Christmas
D is for Daughter
E is for Easter
F is for Farmer
G is for Gardening
H is for Happiness

I is for Independence
J is for Juggling
K is for Kids
L is for Love
M is for Mommy
N is for Norma
O is for Organist
P is for Prayer
Q is for Quadrille
R is for Reading
S is for Symmetry
T is for Typing
U is for Underwear
V is for Violets
W is for Words
X is for Xendochial
Y is for Young
Z is for Zzzzzzz

Here are the posts I managed to do last year.

A is for Anger and Acceptance
B is for Brain, Babies and Boyfriends
B is for Bras
C is for Caregivers
C is for Crying
D is for Daddy
E is for Escape
F is for Football
G is for Grandma
H is for Happiness
Ignorance is Bliss
J is for Judgment
K is for Kicking and Screaming
L is for Lying
M is for Mother's Day
N is for Normal
O is for Opinions

Monday, May 7, 2012

My mother's voice

The other night I took some Benadryl before bed. My allergies have been acting up like crazy and I just wanted to SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. I was definitely deep in sleep when all of a sudden, I heard my mother's voice in my ear and could feel her breath tickling my ear.

I sat straight up in bed, despite the Benadryl fog. Of course there was no one there. She is in a home 400 miles away. But it really seemed like she had been.

I cannot remember anymore what she said to me. I wish I could. It was something profound and necessary for me to hear. Or, perhaps I just needed to hear it for that moment.

I miss her wisdom and talking to her.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Had a Dream....

Last night, I had a throbbing headache. (Thanks for passing those on, Mom!) I went to bed early and took one Benadryl. (I still have it this morning. *sigh*) So, I slept pretty hard for about 7 hours or so, before waking up from a really bizarre dream.

In my dream, I was taking some of my students to a large field so that we could look at the stars and use my Google Sky Map app for real. We have used it in real life, but it isn't as much fun when you can't see the stars to match. I am all excited, trying to point out to the kids how you can see the actual constellations and planets in the sky, but they quickly lost interest. (They are ages 3-6.)

So, somehow the dream shifts and we are in some kind of seminar about keeping yourself safe, as well as child development. I am there with a couple of my colleagues, some old friends from back in the high school and college days, and a couple of students. Somehow, I am back on campus in the town where my parents retired, also where I went to school. I am feeling guilty because I have traveled all this way for the seminar, but have not gone to see my mom. My BFF keeps reminding me that it probably isn't the right time to squeeze in a side trip, how upset my mother gets when I do visit, and how hard it could potentially be on me. So, I acquiesce to simply taking the BFF and one other person on a quick tour of campus before we all pile in the cars to head back to NY.

We get to the new building that houses the pool. (My university is in a massive rebuilding phase right now.) I want to take them in there, even though it looks crowded, because this pool is supposed to be amazing. When we go in, I notice that my mom's nursing home is there on some kind of a field trip, and she is sitting in an armchair in the corner!

I go running over to her and introduce myself. "Hi, Mom. I'm Andrea." She snaps at me, "I know who you are," but by her conversation, I know she has no idea. I go ahead and introduce her to my BFF, even though they met a couple of times a few years ago. BFF is wiping tears away, because she has heard about the degeneration, but can't believe it.

The conversation with Mom continues in circles as it usually does. A nurse comes over to take Mom away for her medication, and I realize she is wearing a neck brace. It had been covered up by a blanket. I ask what had happened, because I am usually the one notified when something happens to her. The nurse says she isn't sure, but that it seemed to be more of a panacea than anything actually medically necessary. I wonder briefly if she is reliving 16 years ago when she had back surgery and then remember that she is much farther behind than that anymore.

I feel sad, yet relieved, as she is wheeled away. The three of us turn to head back to the cars. And then I wake up, 10 minutes before the alarm is set to go off.