She’s dying of cancer and has advanced dementia. I was surprised how hard the diagnosis hit me. She’s been increasingly not there for over ten years now but somehow the prospect of her passing is hard. Really hard.
People die all the time. It’s one thing we all share. Like taxes and getting old (if you’re lucky). So why is it so fucking hard? I mean that literally. You’d think we’d have sorted out how to do this by now. A passing away party sounds way more fun than a funeral. My mom would approve.
Anyway, I traveled to Texas to see her. I met with the people in charge of her care. I swear those people have wings. I’m not religious but they are angels. A couple of times while I was there she mentioned flapping her wings and flying away. I hope she does that soon.
The visit wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I managed not to melt in a pool of tears. At least in public. I walked into her room to find her lying on the bed. She smiled as I put my things on the table before I walked over to her.
“Hi. Do you remember me?”
“Yes, of course.” She didn’t.
I gave her a kiss on the forehead and said, “I love you, mom.”
Her eyes light up at that. “Mom,” she said, and then “Daughter.”
That’s right, I told her. Didn’t really matter if she wasn’t sure who was who. I stayed for three hours. Mostly working on edits. Her hospice nurse came and we talked. She checked out mom while I was there and I went and stood by the bed. Mom looked up at me, eyes bright, and exclaimed “You’re here! You made it!”
I kissed her again. “Yeah, had to come and see my best mom.”
I asked her how she felt and if I could bring her anything tomorrow.
“A tall handsome man,” was her reply. *That* was the woman I’ve missed all these years. Dementia sometimes gives a little bit of them back. For a moment or two.
I surprised her with my ‘arrival’ three times during my visit. It was nice.