I spent most of the day in my mom’s room at the hospice center, adjusting pillows, giving sips of water or soda, applying chapstick, leaving for visitors, talking to caretakers about pain medication, etc., etc.
I left twice — once at 11 to get a much-needed cup of coffee — a frustrating trip that took me past two coffee shops Siri told me were there but very much were not, a not-as-brief-as-it-should-have-been stint in a Starbucks (where the slowest person interviewed was put on a solo pre-lunch time shift), and which almost culminated in my getting hit by a car pulling away from a red light while I turned left on my green. Still haven’t figured out what the guy was thinking — he was stopped. The light was red. Mine was green. I even checked it again when he started going — I was just tired and addled enough it would be the kind of mistake I would make, but it was green.
Anyway, he didn’t hit me, I continued on my way, etc. etc.
Then tonight one of my brothers took over for a couple of hours and I went and bought beautifully-scented hand lotion and a little hooked key ring that will hopefully keep my keys from getting lost in the bottom of my purse and I ate a delicious bowl of French Onion Soup accompanied by a lovely and reasonably-priced Merlot, and I was so stressed on the way back (I can only presume from being gone, since there was really nothing stressful at all about either the soup OR the wine) that I was breaking out in hives.
I looked at clever, cute, interesting things (some of which I posted on my pinterest board and ate a lovely meal and looked at all of the people on the streets and in the stores and restaurant and thought: my mother is dying, and you have no way of knowing this. And then a woman and her mother sat down next to me at the restaurant and ate a very awkward meal together, and I thought how wonderful it was that they were having dinner together but that they should talk, talk!, talkaboutSOMETHINGforpete’ssakebeforeit’stoolate! and then I wanted to stand up and tell this to everyone there — the lovely waitress who sold me a glass and a half of wine, the busboy who kept filling my water glass, the people at the next table with their plate of mussel shells — but I didn’t. I finished my wine, got a croissant for mom’s breakfast, paid my bill and left.
But now I’m telling you. Talk to your mother. Talk to your child. There’s all kinds of stupid crap and ways we disappointed each other and she didn’t love you enough or you held a grudge for too long or whothefuckcares just talk to each other. Whatever you, or he, or she, didn’t do, you or he or she did the best they could do at the time.
When things go wrong I often say, in a little-girl voice with a little-girl pout “I want my mommy.”
I can’t say it like this anymore. It means something else entirely.
I want my mom. Or I at least want her not to hurt any more, and when I look at her I see me with Only Daughter at my bedside and I know that there won’t have been enough time.
Never enough time.
So talk. Talk to each other.