Monday, February 17, 2014

Six years

My dad died six years ago today. He was fairly ravaged from what was believed to be Parkinson's disease. He fell on a Monday and died the following Sunday. As they left to take him by ambulance to a larger center in Minneapolis, he looked at me and said, " Don't forget you'll always be my baby." Those were the last words he spoke to me. I'm glad I have that. He became unconscious in the ambulance and despite surgery to dispel the pressure in his brain, he died 6 days later, peacefully. He and I have found peace with each other posthumously. It needs no other words.
In keeping with this blog recording some of the magical thinking that is taking place this year, thinking of him caused me to reflect on my mother and her journey these last six years. My parents had a great marriage according to them. 63 years of joy that I believe was authentic. Everybody knew their  roles and that was more than okay. My mom has often told me that she was the last of the "lucky" generation who got to stay home with their kids. It worked.
 My mother has had a wonderful time the last six years. Has she grieved? Absolutely. Especially at the birth of Ryan; knowing it was the first big family deal without him. But until last year when her health and mobility caused her to move where she is living now, she lived it up. And even tonight she told me just how lucky she is. That is my mother.
It is hard. It is hard watching someone you love melt away. But her spirit is relentless. And sometimes I leave her and I am very sad, but mostly I smile and shake my head at her will to live.
Here are some recent Momo-isms. She is really such a gift to so many people.
My Mom loved to get dressed up and go out to dinner in downtown Milwaukee with my father every Friday night. I have been a mystery to her when I express how usually the last thing I want to do on Friday night is go out. She so wants to live vicariously through me. Sorry Mom.
This conversation happened on Saturday:
M- How was your party?
Me- Great...lotta fun and laughs.
M- what plates did you use?
Me- paper.
M-Oh. Well did you have enough silverware?
Me: Plastic
M- well. I guess it must have been easy to clean up then.  The shock was palpable.
Me: oh good I love Monday night because it's garbage night. In fact my three favorite things are garbage night, the day Colt cleans my house and the day I get my roots dyed.
My mom: Oh honey. I think you need to get out more. I laughed loudly and agreed.
Her short term memory slips a bit now and then and when she goes through the litany of asking about everybody I know, she often can't grab the name. My friend Misty is now "that little genius from Bemidj."
Is it hard? Yes. Sad? Some days. But would I trade some of these conversations? Never.
Precious time on the journey.