Thursday, May 26, 2011


Lately all I feel like doing is sleeping...
Quiet nights together at home, writing, our trips to the city, and some movies, have sustained me these past two weeks.
The following poured out of me....maybe now I can begin to heal myself during this time of uncertainty...
Many thanks to my readers...

She barely resembles the woman I knew, strapped to that wheelchair for two weeks...

"I hate you" she said. "You want me to stay here for the rest of my life", she said...
That's the illness talking. 
Depression ate away at her essence. It has been feeding on her, maybe all of her life.
It's hard to look back and say, "Yes, I can see that now".

The shell remains; drawn, disheveled.
Hair and skin dried up from a refusal to drink liquids.
But the person she was, longing for affection and approval, who loved us as best she could, is hidden, or gone.
The reminder is there. And maybe her love remains.  
I come to see her with hope. I remind myself that she needs me, in spite of her irrational anger.

What was she so afraid of?  She has always been so frightened.
She never drove a car. So what?  A charming old-world Italian custom: Women stayed home. Women were dependent.
It was something more...She was scared to death of getting lost, of losing control.

And now she can't move from that chair. 
She is angry now, and she wants to be left alone.
I tell myself she doesn't mean it.
That awful voice inside me asks, "If it wasn't there to begin with, would she say it now?".
"There's a conspiracy against me."  "You're a bastard."
I can't listen. I won't take it to heart.

After weeks of alarming decline, she fell one night, and stayed there for hours.
Until father called the next morning.
The weary doctor had a lot of things to do. 
"Bring her in if you can.  You can't force her if she doesn't want to."
The paramedics and I decided for her.  She had stopped eating. For weeks.
She didn't know what day it was.

Another doctor assured us that the treatment was much less traumatic nowadays.
"Six sessions, and we will see a difference. She won't feel it."
The movies alarmed my imagination...Jack Nicholson's cuckoo's nest... Ellen Burstyn's requiem....  Horrendous images....

A flicker of hope...a cup of juice consumed...a few hours of laughter had returned...
...But then it all wore off...she was not responding...her anger and unhappiness returned.  "Why are you here?" 
If I leave her, she is afraid that the "lights will go out", and she will be alone.
For the first time yesterday, she uttered, "I just want to die."
She won't eat.  Or drink. Or take medication unless forced to.

"You're a bastard".  "I hate you".  It's the illness talking. 

She is like a frightened animal...a dog that bites. 
If I reach out, real pain would result.

After she returned, years ago, from a similar episode, I watched her wave at me from my rear view mirror as I drove away to start a life in Phoenix....and I cried the whole day, all the way to St. Louis, and beyond. 
I cried for being angry with her, because she would not get better for my sake.

She recovered, years later, and we never discussed it when I returned to Chicago.

I'm tired now, and feel no guilt, only profound sadness, and uncertainty.  She has three more treatments....and then...what?

I cannot expect anything from her.  I will give everything I can. 

Mother, for now, is gone.  She may never fully return.  I have to let go. 

Save what I can...Reinvent the rest....

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