I took my mom to the Cardiologist today. All the way there, she spoke of death.
The walk to the car was hard for her. Her balance is off, and she is always out of breath.
She spoke of the doctor examining her and rushing her to the hospital. But that never happened.
She was sent home, with a pretty clean bill of health for someone who is almost 90 years old. She seemed convinced that I was keeping a secret from her. The doctor must have told me something that no one sees fit to share with her. Nope, all good mom. I promise you. Let’s get some Chinese food for lunch.
While she spoke of dying, I wondered how that piece of my life will feel. No one lives forever. At one point, I will have to face that event. I will have to comfort my children, and possibly experience freedom for the first time in my life. Truly no one to answer to, except my own reflection, which I kind of stopped looking at some time ago.
I wondered how it would feel to walk by her empty room, and to not have to make her breakfast in the morning. Even though she likes her coffee strong, and I like mine weak, we agree on the same brand. I wondered how dinner would be with one less person at the table. We have been on a downward spiral over the last few years… first my husband, then my college son, then my other husband, who hasn’t been missed, but who has been a steady source of conversation for those who remain at the table. My middle child speaks of college. Could it be that without him, and Mom, it would only be me and my daughter? And then there were two.
Will they come back to this empty house? Will I be left to rattle around in this big house? Will they learn the lessons I am trying to teach as they watch me care for her? I will be old one day too.
How will I tell my sister? She hasn’t called in years. Does she deserve to know? Does she deserve the empathy of her friends who will console her on the loss of her mother? The mother she abandoned long ago, because she wasn’t fancy enough to be in my sister’s social circle.
We drove home, and Mom talked all the way… what is for dinner? I could use a new pair of black shoes… Hope nothing happened in the news when I wasn’t home…. that Obama…
And of all the days she stays in the house, today, it had to rain. I had hoped for sunshine for her. Into the driveway, twenty minutes later… In spite of the 75 degree day,
I took her hand, always cold, and walked her into her room. Not today Mom, not today.