Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where I've Been


The View at 1801, 2011

I’d expected to be back here by now.
Several weeks ago my mother was rushed in the wee hours of the morning from her nursing home to the hospital. Her condition was such that she was not expected to last until lunchtime, much less the day.
But as it has on a number of occasions over the last few years, my mother’s body belied her desire for life to end and carried her not only through that first day, but every one of the twenty days since, including December 22nd, her 91st birthday.
It seemed important to me for a while that she make it to this birthday, although she’s no longer aware of it and had no interest in attaining it in the first place. She's from a generation where children died young and seniors never gave a thought to surviving past their sixties. But now I realize this was a pretty silly target. She long ago reached the point of having lived longer than anyone else in her generation of her family. There was nothing to prove and these last twenty days haven’t been pleasant ones for her.
When she returned home to her nursing home from the hospital, my mother entered hospice treatment and became one of those people who actually improved when the medications she’d been using for her litany of chronic conditions was discontinued. But that was short-lived and for more than a week now she has teetered at death’s doorstep, made comfortable to the extent that she is by copious doses of palliative medications.
As you can imagine, a lot of time goes into keeping watch over someone in this condition. My mother’s death, whenever it does occur, will be seen as a release for her from earthly pains and anxiety. There’s not really much to be done, to be honest, and my mother has reached the point where she no longer recognizes me. But just the same you feel the need to maintain a presence.
Add all this to a couple of demanding client projects, a furnace and plumbing that have both decided to act up—and did someone say Christmas is coming?—and you don’t have much time left for creative outlets.
So the bottom line is that I’m not back yet. I’m hoping to be back by the first of the year. In the meantime, I wish you all happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year! 

6 comments:

  1. Thinking of you Chris. And your mother. I hope you have the best holidays you can. And I think you're absolutely right that your presence is critical, whether she's aware of it or not. x

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  2. Your mind is writing as you keep watch.

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  3. It never rains... Hang in and good luck!

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  4. Oh, Chris--how hard to have to watch your mom's decline that way. I will always remember my mother's laughter and vivacious smile and her genuine interest in every damn thing in life, but I try as hard as possible to erase from my memories the difficult times at the end. My heart goes out to you and your family and your mom. May she go gentle into that good night. Thinking of you...

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