Monday, June 20, 2011

Letting Go of Her

This time visiting my mother has turned into a drawn out contemplation on impermanence and grief.

Mourning the way I saw her last time six months ago, when she was still able to accompany us for dinners out at La Roseraie, our lovely hotel. Mourning her still walking. Mourning her still joining in our conversations. Mourning her talking for the hundredth time about our old farm. 'I have a beautiful house. Two cellars, three gardens. Isn't it something?" Mourning her getting drunk on one too many glasses of the local wine, the same one her father used to make. Mourning her getting excited about the dresses I bought her at the local market. Mourning her delighting in my daughters' successes at school. Mourning her, or rather the idea of her I had stored in my mind.

Time has brought a new version of her, foretelling the end near.

My mother has joined the realm of the 'sitting' people. In her mind, she can still walk, and wonders why the physical therapist is coming to help her stand and make a few steps. Seeing her in a wheelchair was quite a shock. Never mind that I work all day in an assisted living community with folks like her, many in wheelchairs. This is my mother . . . We sit with her at lunch, and encourage her to eat. "I am not hungry anymore."She takes in a few of the bites I give her, and then that's it. She is done. Her appetite is leaving her. 

Inside, I get into a tug of war between grief welling up, and awareness of the truth of impermanence, so easy to see in this situation. And I sit with her and my daughter, and I choose to appreciate this moment. Sitting, being breathed, with two of my most dear people. 

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