The doctor told me she is fine. She will be her “old” self in a week. Feeling foolish for my earlier assumptions, i now emailed to my faraway siblings – sorry for the alarm and gave them the doctors news.
My shock at seeing her later in the afternoon was obvious to the nurse, who stopped in to check on her.
I asked “Does she seem okay to you”? “Am I missing something here”? “He said she’d be fine in a week”
Perhaps he did not see her lying in bed, spittle on her cheek, eyes dull and unknowing. Maybe he didn’t hear her ask if the invisible little girl playing in her room was my daughter, who is now a mother herself. He may not have notice that she called me “mommy”. I guess the nurses forgot to tell him that she ate less than ten percent of the pureed food offered, now that she has forgotten how to swallow. He didn’t see the blue DNR bracelet that replaced the blaze orange “allergy” one.
“She had no heart failure nor does she have pneumonia” he says. I try to understand. Her trip to the E.R.(was it only 72 hours ago)? was at the insistence of her “new” doctor. He read the her x rays, “pneumonia” he said and called for emergency transport.
The E.R doctor ordered blood tests and declared “heart failure”. They attempted to giver her water, she choked. “Inability to swallow, likely due to dementia” he proclaimed.
As i watch her lying there, awakening briefly to speak to persons visible only to her, inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner, discussing matters with her non existent siblings. I wonder why i do not feel distressed over her condition, why what I perceive to be her imminent death, does not fill me with sadness. She is my MOTHER after all. What kind of daughter am I?
I am selfish, self centered. I have tried many times over the years to recall good times with my mother, times I felt loved and special and nurtured, but I cannot. I am the only one of six (now five) children who feel she could have been a better mother. It must be me, they all love their mother dearly.
I do remember the doll she bought for my first communion. She took me to a diner once, just the two of us. She let me order turkey and stuffing and dessert. She bought me a horse, knowing my father objected to the idea. But she als bought my brother a motorcycle costing several times more, to which my father very vocally objected. (Why do i need to cancel out the good memories? Is is self pity?)
My thoughts quickly turn to those times she would get in her car and leave my then six year old self crying as she said “I am never coming back”. (In fairness my brother was a bit younger and thought it very funny, he knew she would be back).
I watched her bake and sew with my older sister, always shooing me away and telling me to go out and play, why couldn’t I join in with them I wondered……
The last time I recall really feeling anything for her was when I arrived home with a police escort, having been beaten black and blue by a boyfriend, (who then rushed to my house so he could speak with my mother). and hearing her ask the question that may stolen an other happy memories with my mother.
“What did you do to make poor Bill so mad at you”?
I recall the following events occurring simultaneously, the officer asking “Did you look at your daughter?” and seeing myself shrug my shoulders and walk away from me.
So should i cry for my mother? Should I spend endless hours debating whether she loved me, whether she found me unlovable?
I know I will sit with her and hold her hand and tell her I am her mother, or my sister or anyone she wants me to be. I know some might mistake this for love, but I would do this for anyone who was alone and confused, that is just the right thing to do.
I will endure my siblings telling everyone what a wonderful mother she was, I will weep at the cemetery. I will recall that I am the “bad” daughter for not realizing what a “good” mother I had.
Or perhaps the doctor is correct. Maybe she will return to the assisted living facility, where I will visit her and try to figure out why I feel so unloved by her.
I am hoping that whether she lives or dies, I can stop asking the question, and move forward.
I am thinking it will be difficult to miss a mother you’ve never had. I am wondering if there are any other motherless children out there……I am believing there are more than would ever admit to it…….