It has been hard to write lately, mostly because my mom’s health is declining. Maybe I think that if I don’t write about it, it isn’t true. I know this is a ridiculous thought. I am smart enough to know that just because I avoid something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
My mom is now in a wheel chair. She cannot walk. Her inability to walk is hard for me because she used to be obsessed with walking. We would walk lap after lap in the building where she lives, talking. Now, she is confined to her wheelchair, and I can’t help but think what a boring existence she must have. I do not believe that everyone in a wheelchair has a boring life, but Mom has such physical and mental limitations, that I know her life is not a very high quality one now.
Her everyday care is wonderful. The facility’s nurses and staff and the Hospice staff are great. They keep her clean, dressed, and fed. They talk with her. She has music therapy through Hospice, and I visit her, of course. But she rarely, if ever, gets to go outside. The winters here in Indiana do not lend themselves to taking Mom outside. She wears fleece outfits every day because she is so cold, even in the summer. I used to take her out to lunch or to get her hair cut or simply to walk in the garden, but I am not able to do that now. The lady that cuts her hair has to come to her. I cannot get her in and out of my car anymore. And she doesn’t talk.
So, I am again at a new stage with Mom. Her walks will have to consist of me pushing her in her shiny blue wheelchair. But I promise to do so because everyone should be able to breathe fresh air and feel the sunlight on their faces. I will continue to visit and tell her about what is going on in my life and the lives of those who love her. I will tell her that her granddaughter made a goal in her last lacrosse game. I will remind her how much her grandson loves to ride his bike and all about his new gecko, Ginger. And though she may only say “Yeah” or “Wow “ or nothing at all, she will have interaction with someone who loves her, and she will receive information about others who love and care so much for her. I will still hold her hand, touch her face, sing to her, and hug and kiss her, even though she can’t give much back to me. And I will continue to find ways to let her know that I love her.
For years she helped take care of me. She held my hand, kissed my cheek, and sang “All The Pretty Little Horses” softly into my ear. Mom took me on walks and pointed out flowers. She allowed me long summer days where I could climb trees, splash in the creek, tromp through the woods, or lie on the grass and stare up at the sky. When I was older, she helped me with my babies and listened when I needed her to. At every stage of my life she has loved me. Always adjusting to my age, my interests and needs, my mom was there in her own way, and I knew that she loved me. Now it is my turn.
I can feel our time together coming to an end. Just how long we have only the disease knows. But I will make sure that she can feel my love during every visit. Because I believe that no one ever forgets what it feels like to be loved.