Monday, July 26, 2010

Step By Step

...I am getting used to the idea that my mother will die soon.

She's like a tree that's been hit by two storms in a row. Just as it's getting up from the first storm the second one hits...and as the ground is soaking wet from the first storm the roots have nothing to hold on to, and the tree falls.

The strange thing is that her mind, which recovered from encephalitis, has been felled by her broken (now mended) femur. How odd that the mind should be more affected by a broken bone than by a disease of the brain itself. Something has been unmoored in her, and she's wandering among landscapes where, though they seem familiar to me, I cannot follow.

She--who was the star of the rehab center, who showed off how far and how fast she could travel with her walker a mere ten days ago--now doesn't want to get out of bed. Her doctor, who is compassionate as well as sensible, says not to force her to do physical therapy, since it's only a matter of time before "something else" happens. And, speaking of time, at her age the mortality rate in the six months following a break is 50%.

So in these late-summer days, with the goldenrod beginning to show along the roadsides and the black-eyed susans spotting the overripe meadows, I drive the dogs to play dates and work on being present to the beauty, while another part of my mind works on getting used to the idea that my indestructible, not-always-comfortable mother is on her way out of my life.

12 comments :

  1. It's one of the hardest events to go through, no matter the age of the parent or child. I wish you and your mother well.

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  2. Beautifully written. Teary now. Thinking of you.

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  3. P.S. It's not easy to write about this...but it's either write about it or not write at all.

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  4. Sigh. All of the above. My heart goes out to you even as I admire the seeming effortlessness with which you weave your grief into nature's rhythm.

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  5. Elizabeth, how perceptive: "seeming" is right.

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  6. Such beautiful words. Thinking of you.

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  7. such a sad post. i am so sorry. it is hard to see our eagles fall.

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  8. Laurie, sometimes the fall is slow and protracted.

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