Sunday, March 12, 2006

Pocket Call

Woke to the sound of my cell phone was Bob's phone calling me from his pocket. He and buddy Denny run around together and could hear some of their conversation though they were not aware the phone had triggered. Spent yesterday out of state seeing my mother Audra. She's 86 and in a resthome. I used to be more of a Daddy's girl and have missed him every day in the 12 yrs. since he has been gone. But watching my mother go through the wrenching caregiving of her husband, financial loss, then the decline of her own health...and eventually her smoking and catching herself on fire, the strength she showed recovering from her skin-grafting...well, it was just plain horrible but she seldom complained. During the years of growing up Mom made all four of us feel as if we were only children. She would be up until 2 a.m. ironing mountains of clothing and sneak into our rooms at night to put them away as we slept. Her kitchen was spotless, with a hot meal on the table every night. At lunchtime she would come home from her work as hospital office supervisor and start meals, work on laundry, or anything else. Her bag was constantly packed to visit us or take time off with Dad. Her whole life was devoted to being his wife or our mother. She played the organ at church and never had anything bad to say about another. It's hard to find anyone in the hometown who didn't admire and love her. She is now in a rest care facility where I admire her courage facing the wasted hours between visits from family, while watching death all around her. She has outsurvived at least a half-dozen roommates since entering the place a year ago. We try to rotate weekends to have someone in the family there to spend time with her. My sister Martha, the youngest in the family, is her guardian and watches after her like a child. My brothers offer her humor and understanding and visit as often as their schedules allow. I try to make it there one weekend a month as the roundtrip takes about 10 hrs. to drive. When my children were young, Mom took them out to see the moon, so we nicknamed her "Grandma Moon Sky" sounded like a hippie tag, which Mom certainly did not fit, but I still look at the moon and feel she is shining down on me in encouragement. I've learned a new love and admiration for my mother's life and as a result have given my own life more of a sense of purpose and direction. Today it's back to school to work on the yearbook, which I am hoping to finish. I want to get back to working on the house and anything else to get me out of the tangles that are keeping me from just enjoying life. Have a great Sunday. Marilyn


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