About Mom


I haven’t written much about my Mom since September when she turned 95.  It is getting harder to visit her because she is slowly going downhill and at time she doesn’t look my Mom.  A couple of weeks ago I had a call from the nurse at Elderplace.  She was concerned because Judy sent a note in that she had noticed a sore on Mom’s left thigh.  They checked but it was close to time for Mom to leave; they decided to have her come back the next day for a more thorough exam.

They think it is because she sleeps on her left side all night and also realized there was no cushion on her wheelchair.  So Friday the physical therapist was going to make sure there was a cushion and also they ordered a hospital bed to help with keeping her feet up as well as helping diminish the sore before it got any worse.   The nurse really appreciated that Judy let them know so soon so it could be treated.

When I went the following Tuesday, I asked if Mom had gone on Friday – she had.  What amazed Judy was how fast the bed arrived – on Friday.  Now it is easier to pull the bed out and help Mom turn over to the right side often enough to relieve the pressure on her left side so the sore is resolving itself.  The hospital bed is much easier for her to pull out and put back than the other bed.

Mom is usually sitting on a dining room chair or the wheelchair because it is hard for her to walk.  Judy does her best to have Mom use the walker to go around house so she will not lose her ability to walk for as long as possible.  She is usually quiet and cooperative until it is time to get up, change her clothes, have a shower and wash her hair.  That is when she gets very feisty and resists Judy.

Mom sleeps a lot more now and even when I come to visit in the morning, she is likely to close her eyes.  I started reading a Miss Read book to her, I am not sure if she is taking very much in as I read.  I ask her if she would like to hear more and she will say yes.  In some ways I feel I am copping out a bit but it is hard to have a conversation with her because she mumbles and repeats words so I don’t know what she is saying.  I think she knows what I am asking, it’s just not going through the shorted circuits to what she wants to say.

Some days I don’t want to go, but I don’t want her to think I have abandoned her.Judy tells me she knows the days of the week I come.  She tells me Mom is aware of things even though she can’t express them in words.  I will admit, this Friday I don’t think she quite knew who I was, that I was her middle daughter.  I call her Mom and I suspect it is inside somewhere deep that she knows who I am – or at least a familiar presence.

My older sister Ellen wrote in an email – “It’s hard, but important, for me to see her as a person and not just my Mom”.  I am realizing that is also important for me as well.  she and Dad have been big authority figures for me and I’ve seen them as Mom and Dad.   But I have not really seen her as Ruth, a person with a history and experiences that don’t necessarily involve me, the child.  I know the little she would talk about, but she as always been very quiet about that part of herself.

Sometimes she has told us things but I could always tell when she didn’t want to talk about it – I would ask a question and her answer would be “I don’t know, I don’t remember”.  I have met member sod her family and know things from them,; I have met people on Dad’s side who knew him and his parents.  It was interesting to hear what they had to say, some I heard from Mom but there were new things as well.

She did talk about her family some and I loved hearing about the great aunts – I call them the Awesome Seven.  Two of them were quite interesting and I also heard a lot from Mom’s younger brother when we would visit them in Waterford.  They had a summer house there, around the corner from the nuclear plant.  Don embroidered a lot of the stories about the family, so it was quite entertaining  Whatever he talked about, he made it so funny and I loved hearing his stories.   His wife Betty had heard them all before, so when Eddie I went down to visit, he would talk with Betty while Don told me stories.

I also realize I have only looked at the things that have bugged and frustrated me about Mom, time to see the more positive loving side.  I know she loved all three of us and wanted to protect us – it was some of the ways she went about it that put my teeth on edge.  I think I wrote a post about all the wonderful things I remember about Mom; this morning I thought of another one, she taught us to make a bed with hospital corners so everything stayed put.

Mom is a loving a giving woman, I think sometimes how she was brought up made it difficult to say it in words.  As I think about it, I think it was easier to express love for us by doing rather than saying.  I realize now that Mom and Dad always made me feel loved and wanted, that Mom was home when I came home from school – so many kids didn’t have that.   In many, many ways, I was blessed with the parents I had – it has taken experience and getting older to really appreciate what I had.  My sisters may have had a different view – this comes from the middle child.

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