Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mom's Big Day

It's coming up in less than a month. My elderly mother is having a knee replacement surgery. Quite a few things to do leading up to the big day to get ready, but I think all will be well.

On that note, I want to share a previous entry from my 360 from Mom's last surgery a couple years ago. She had major foot surgery, and at the same time I was making my peace with the struggles and turmoil of my upbringing and relationship with Mom. This blog entry I'm about to share is one that came after this time, and is not one I want to lose, and is also one that is still relevant. So here it is, originally written and shared on July 24, 2006.


OK, Saturday night I was preparing a blog entry, and then lost part of it due to pushing the wrong buttons. I even said in the post that I had several more paragraphs, but just wasn't able to retype them at that time.

So tonight, as I was looking through the storybook I shared on Friday called "Love You Forever", I was reminded of what made me start thinking of Mom and blogging in the first place.

It's the following section of the story:

Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she
called up her son and said, "You'd better come see me because I'm very old and
sick." So her son came to see her. When he came in the door she tried to sing
the song. She sang:
I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always...
she couldn't finish because she was too old and sick.
The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:
I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my mommy you'll be.
When the son came home that night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs.
Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He picked her up in his arms and very slowly rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while he rocked her he sang:
I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be.

This part of the story shouted out to me, because Mom is in her mid 70's, and has been deteriorating physically for some time. There are many things that I must do for her now, which she prefers to do for herself, being a strong-willed and fiercely independant woman. In March she underwent a major surgery which went well, but from which she is still recovering. When she has recovered sufficiently, she will undergo more major surgery, easily 2, possibly 3-5 more. There is no possibility that she will not be facing or recovering from surgery at any time in the next year, if not longer. The next surgery is going to impact her ability to drive herself around, and thus she becomes more dependent on the people around her.

Those who know me are aware that for the most part, I'm generally an upbeat type of person. I tend to focus on the silver lining to any situation, whenever humanly possible, and I usually see the glass as half-full not half-empty. I don't know why, it's just how I am. But believe me when I tell you I did not get this trait from Mom, lol. All throughout my life it seemed I battled against Mom's constant negativity, and the inability to please her, no matter what I did. If there was a way to see a situation from a negative point of view, Mom did. And believe me, there always was!

So as we prepared for this first surgery in March, I knew that by my mother's side I would be, in spite of the rocky relationship we endured, because that is what family does, and I do love her, she's my mom. Also, as the only one of 4 siblings who remained living closer than 5 hours away, I was "it". But I was also quite calm about it, knowing that I would be fine, just not sure how she would fare, being dependant on those around her in the post-op weeks.

Well, I have to say she was awesome. A real trooper! And as such was able to be a blessing to those around her. When she did need to fuss or grumble, she was wise enough to only do that to me, and then she would be back to being cheerful and upbeat. This made it so much easier to care for her needs, while she was in the hospital, and once she came home. I was so proud of her. And I'll never forget the sight of my son, my brother, and my Master, sitting all in a row in chairs at the foot of her hospital bed 3-4 weeks after the surgery. And she decides to show off for them her newly acquired skill of using the walker on her own. I was her spotter, having been through therapy sessions with her many times, and as I kept an eye on her, I saw the 3 of them begin to do the wave! It was absolutely priceless, and I so wish I had a camera at that moment to capture the 3 of them in their wave and cheering for her. And how can I forget giving her cash to pay the shampoo lady, as well as extra in case she wanted or needed something when I wasn't there; and coming into the room after her shampoo, and seeing the sheepish look on her face as she confessed to giving the shampoo lady all the cash I left her because the shampoo lady was facing a terrible financial situation. These are beautiful memories of a giving and caring woman, who happens to be my Mom. Those of you who did my Johari Window, and selected "caring" made me feel very good, but I also know that "caring" is a trait I did get from her.

Mom has been there all my life, and while she's not able to show her love for me as openly as the Mom in the story, she still had that love in her heart for me, of this I have no doubt. And so, according to the story, Mom loves me forever, likes me for always, as long as she's living her baby I am. Well now wait just a cotton pickin' moment here. Am I supposed to believe or accept that after she's gone she's not my mom anymore? "As long as I'm living my baby you'll be?" She will likely live another 20 years just as her own mother did, and yet one never knows, it could certainly not work out that way. And all I have to say is that she doesn't stop being my mother when that time comes. She's always my mother. Moving to the next stage of life, no matter what you believe that to be, will not change that fact.

OK, calm down girl, just finish reading the story. So the son comes to be with her on her death bed, and since she's too frail to sing the song to him one last time, he picks her up and rocks her and sings the song back to her. And says that as long as he's living his mommy she'd be. That's better. Mom doesn't stop being my mom with her death, she is always my mom, as long as I'm living. And yet, longer than that too. And then at last the son goes home, having just lost his mom, and picks up his newborn daughter and rocks her, and sings the song to her. And so, the circle of life goes on.

It's comforting, to know that the love we give is never wasted. And that we can keep our dearest family and friends with us, and keep them "alive" even after they are dead. Truly, as long as their memory lives in us, they live-on.

So, all of this was on my mind Saturday night, but once it was gone, I couldn't re-do it at that time! I think I needed to get all that out for my own sake, not just to bore those who might have ventured to read this whole thing, lol! Would I want Mom to know about this 360 page and the way I live out my truest self away from the 'nilla world? Well, prolly not, and then again I think she'd be fine with it. *snort* heck, she prolly indulged in some similar behaviors herself, lol. Only in reverse, I see her tying my Dad up and flogging the crap out of him, not the other way around, lol. And as long as they both enjoyed themselves in mutually consensual play, then it's all good.


ps - the Story quoted above is a beloved children's story titled "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch http://www.robertmunsch.com/books.cfm?bookid=40

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