Monday, October 10, 2011


My mother has been in her new place for two months now.  We have each established our patterns, she with her daily rituals and me with my visits.  Our visits are largely silent.  She sleeps much more since the move and it is a rare day that I catch her with eyes open.  Angus has memorized the sound of my jingling keys and eagerly greets me upon entering the building.  He follows me to her room, anticipation of a treat causing him to drool all the way down the hall.  My mother pays no mind to Angus or to me for that matter.  I touch her hand softly and kiss her forehead.....she eyes this stranger who dares get so familiar and utters a puzzled thank you.  However polite her thanks cuts to the bone.  Our pattern is not without it's sorrow.
I have taken up knitting since her move.  I know only one stitch and how to make a scarf.  I now have a drawer full of future Christmas presents (sorry about ruining the surprise), each one knit in her presence and held to her cheek for a small gift of texture and softness.  When I cleaned out her house two years ago, I found drawers full of my clumsily made cards, pot holders and artwork from my childhood.  I offer up my scarves as continued proof of our relationship.
She is treated well in her new place.  When they enter her room to change her diaper, I flee to the hallway.  Ashamed at myself who cannot bear this ritual and sadness for her that it is so.  I cast off my hopes of her recovery....I cast on a tougher outer shell.  Welcome to the new normal.


  1. Tough outer shell, but soft and gooey inside. What you do with and for your mom is love.
    That's the real normal.
    The other normals always change.
    Keep a tight hold on the first one.

  2. I have 2 quilts that my Grandmother hand cross stitched the squares and sewed when she sat with my Grandfather when he was sick. Funny, her whole life I never remember her ever sewing until then.

    My mother is not to that point yet, but I've often wondered if she'd enjoy being read to at that point. Do you think your mother would?

  3. Debbie,,,
    bless her heart but she threw her hearing aids out a long time ago. I replaced them 3 times and said enough. I do put my ipod earbuds on her and burned her a playlist.

  4. Pamela, I hear the pain in your post. I just now visited your blog because I noticed that you joined mine. My mom is still up moving around & uses the bathroom some of the time. I used to help but now I just ask a CNA to assist. I think it is less stressful for both of us. My heart goes out to you &your mom. May God bless you both. THANKS FOR VISITING MY BLOG.

  5. Pamela, your writing always moves me so deeply. My mother passed away when she was only 63 in a way that she had always expressed dreading most - her body was failing as the result of having ALS, but her mind was ever present. She was embarrassed by the need for help in areas that were so deeply personal, but was less embarrassed when the assistance was provided by a medical professional vs. the family. We were able to tease and laugh a little about having to feed her, but I know exactly what she meant. Your leaving the room at times offers your mother privacy and dignity when she is so reliant on others for help. She is lucky to have you.