My mom said to me a few months ago, "This stage of mothering is about preparing you for my death."

It was a reasonable thing to say, even though she's an incredibly fit and healthy 67 year old, because we lost my father in law a year and a half ago, a sudden and devastating loss that his family will wrestle with for many years to come.

It was reasonable for her to say this because, of course, this preparation will take quite a long time.

Then, a week and a half ago, I got a phone call from my mom as she lay in the ER awaiting treatment for what would eventually be discovered to be a perforated appendix. She was heavily medicated but lucid enough to tell me not to come. There was no need. They would just take it out and she could go home.

But it wasn't that easy; there were complications. She's still there. So I went to her on Saturday, just long enough to sit with her, massage her head, and walk slow laps with her around her hospital wing.

No matter how rationally you understand the fragility of our physical bodies, it's a shock to see a parent sick, weak. Mortal.

We like to think we know what to expect, but like a snowstorm before Halloween, we never know what to expect. If we're lucky, we might see things coming a day or two ahead, a forecast, an inkling of the change to come.

If we're really lucky, the change is a small, unexpected storm. The snow will melt tomorrow and the flowers will still be there, underneath.

My mom is teaching me about positivity and humor and how together they create resilience. She's teaching me about mortality. And about letting go.

I guess I could consider this part of that preparation for her death. But I don't want to.

I just don't want to.


Hillary said...

I'm sorry your mom isn't well. It's a hard thing to see your parents hurting. The loneliest I've ever felt is when my uncle died and my parents were in deep grief over him, leaving me to take care of them both.

Take care.

Cortney said...

I'm so sorry. I think about my parents getting older all the time and am so scared to receive a phone call...

I hope your mom feels better soon. I love reading her comments here, what a wise woman!

Kathi said...

You have a very special mom and I wish her a speedy recovery. And big hugs to you! What scary things to think about. And by the way, she has taught you well. You are pretty wise yourself!

Alice said...

i honestly can't talk or even THINK about the fact that my parents are not immortal. it's just.. i.. no. NO. NOPE.

here's to a speedy recovery for your mom.

twisterfish said...

Hoping your mom is well and home soon. Thinking of all of you.

Rebecca said...

Wow. That really hit me and for some reason made me think about my kids losing me. "Like a snowstorm in October." Unimaginable. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

Hope your mom feels better soon.

The thought of losing my parents isn't something I can handle. I talk to them both every day and I can't imagine not having that phone call.

Doing My Best said...

Your writing is always to eloquent and touching! This is a hard thing to think about.

I hope your mom feels better soon! (*whisper* make her a crappy day package =)! *whisper*)

Bird said...

I hope your mom makes a quick and full recovery.

The idea of my parents getting old, and having deteriorating health scares the bejeebies out of me. As a family we are so ill-prepared to deal with this that I worry about how much worse that will make things. As an only child I also feel an extra burden.

grammalouie said...

Hi Everyone, Grammalouie here, 2 weeks post "hot appy"*
Just want you to know I am not morbid (those of you who know me will hopefully agree) but do know I am mortal as this episode in my life has highlighted in neon.
I am home now, recuperating and full of gratitude for all the love and support I have received.

*medical jargon for ruptured appendix. Ick...

grammalouie said...

Oh, and thanks, CBHM, for taking away two years of my age.
I am amused! (and thankful for my returning sense of humor)

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