“Mom!”

I am home from a great visit to Philadelphia, and I want to do it all over again! It was fun to be there for Father’s Day (Andrew got LOTS of books) and go out brunching Sunday in the outdoors–my stuffed French toast would have served all 4 of us–and take lots of pictures of Emma. She taught herself to hopscotch, even getting the one-leg hop right most of the time, we played lots of dolls, went to the Farmer’s Market, had breakfast most mornings at the coffee shop, and did lots of painting and doodling. Oh yeah–we also had some ice cream!

Bickford was in the same place as I left it; I found Dad in one of his musical chairs that he plays throughout the day. He enjoyed the pictures and video I showed him of my visit, and we talked about tomorrow’s meeting with his trustee and financial planner. I’m not looking forward to this meeting, for I hate to have him sound like he’s less than he was. He’s got something in mind about “reinvestment” that he’s been thinking about–is there a better strategy? Hope it goes well. I know the two people coming have known him for a long time, appreciate him, and will do well by him.

I went to see Mom, then, and found her profoundly asleep in bed. She usually wakens when I come in, but she was sleeping deeply. Earlier today, I was on the porch, thinking about Mom, and suddenly I called to her: “Don’t go!” and meant it from the depths of Child-Me. Now I looked at her, and knew that she will be sleeping more and more, slipping away. Conflicting feelings of “go/don’t go,” as usual. Tears welled in my eyes as I looked at her, one arm folded over her chest, her arm looking so Mom-like, if that makes any sense. I found out she’d eaten and drunk little through the day, so checked with the aide who made a “shake” for her–I was most concerned that Mom might be low on fluids. I took the shake in and gently wakened Mom. Her eyes slowly opened, and I said, “It’s Kathy.” Her eyes lit up with joy and she said, “Mom!” Again I wept a little–did she think I was her mother? Or is it that she thinks of her daughters as her “mom?” She has, in the past, commented that I was “[her] mom now,” and perhaps that was what she was thinking. At any rate, she was happy to see me, hugging and kissing me and saying “At last, at last!” I kept weeping, both from being touched by her response, and also from grief mixed in a bit. But a sweet moment, no doubt.

Mom’s companion of the day and I got her out to the dining room where she ate lunch with appetite, and was in a great mood, poking and tickling when attention drifted from her. She can’t join in the conversation anymore, and I find myself talking to others about her as if she isn’t listening–which she is, of course. I need to work on keeping her involved. It is sad to realize that the reason I am not including her as much is that she is diminished. I left then to get my new glasses lenses, and to get Mom’s glasses straightened out, and said I’d be back with the glasses within the hour. I also took Dad’s hearing aids to drop off on the way to the eye clinic, thinking I’d get both errands done. But the hearing aid place was closed, to my mild irritation. Oh well, Friday will work as well to get the tubes replaced. I returned with Mom’s glasses, and they looked much better–tilted glasses lend an air of pathos to a person’s appearance, so I was glad to see Mom’s improved appearance.

This has been my best return from a trip–emotionally–n quite awhile. I found myself starting to deteriorate as Joe and I left the airport, and since I noticed it happening, I could break the descent before I got dragged all the way under. In case you don’t know this: counseling CAN make a huge difference, and this small triumph is one for me. I am grateful I’ve had the help. Get it if you need it, y’all.

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