Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Memory without a Photo?

I read this post this morning at Cathy Zielski's blog and immediately reminded me of a scenario I have been playing over in my head the past few days.  I'm trying to learn to let go (still) on several levels of taking care of my mother and also of pressuring my siblings to help out.  It all started a few weeks ago, when my fabulous former neighbor, H stood in my foyer and told me how she realized her parents had to write the last chapter in their lives, that it wasn't up to her to script it as she saw fit.  Those words hit me right between the eyes, as a year after placing my Mom into a nursing home has come to pass.  There's alot of pride and self-worth received from taking care of someone.  Sorry, I digress.
So I'm trying to visit my Mom more out of desire than guilt or pressure or "because I should" or because if I don't, they won't take good care of her... (hello, where's your faith?) And in doing so, I can listen to her and she has basically lost most of her ability to think or reason.  Her mind is blank and yet, we can have the sweetest visits.  It usually involves getting her ready for bed and when you take her shirt off (she gets confused on how to do it), she fights like crazy and even slaps you a bit.  Last Sunday I felt so bad as I tugged on her head and neck while trying to remove it.  So I threw the shirt away because the damn neck was too small.  Once we get through the whole changing chore and sit back down on the bed is the sweet time. I bought her some uber soft pajamas with puppies on them and she loves them. seriously.  And so we spend a little time looking at some photos on the wall and go over (several times) who the people are.  One is of my puppy, Grace that my mother totally adored.  My mother has never liked dogs but Grace was her companion for the five years she lived with me.  She snuck food to her all day long and at night, Grace slept with Mom.  It was so cute.  Doesn't remember a thing about Grace.  I usually brush her hair a bit and she loves it and I rubbed her neck slow and smooth and she really enjoyed that.  It was so pure. And sometimes I lay on her bed and she brushes my hair with her hand and quietly I cry (with my face turned away).  I don't know why, I just do - the whole thing is so overwhelming.  And she screws her face up a bit and sort of cries and I soothe her and tell her it will all be okay.  She is so appreciative of the visit and tells me so.  several times.  And then we recite the Our Father and Hail Mary, sometimes twice and I think she likes that she can remember the words. I truly feel His presence in the room. And after several hugs and I love yous, I go back home.  to Grace. 
Without a picture, it is a very good memory that I want to keep for a long time.  I was never close to my mother and this time is so healing.  Thank you for sharing my memory with me. 


Linda said...

What a beautiful post, Peggy. I was never close to my dad and when my mother died first... I wasn't sure how I would deal with him. If I had not had those 2 years with him.... helping care for him (he moved to assisted living)... he would've died with me not really feeling close to him at all. He didn't have dementia, but Parkinson's... and we had to get rid of all things that pulled over his head.... go with buttons! This is a special, holy time.... just being present with no expectations is sufficient. hugs...

Megan said...

Wish I had read this prior to our visit - crying now... the memory is so lovely. I can't even think about how I will deal with this when the time comes - it reduces me to sobbing!