losing my mother

From last November, though not much has changed:

I’m losing my mother by bits and pieces, like grains of sand slipping through my fingers. Her brain seems just as they describe it, like Swiss cheese, although I think of it more as cheesecloth, all cobwebby and frail.

We speak on the phone every couple few days. By her tone I can tell she knows it’s me, at least at first. In most conversations of late she asks me where I am, how long I’ll be here and when I am coming to visit. We do-si-do around these topics for ten minutes or so as I sprinkle in some questions of my own.

“How are your knees?” I ask.
“Oh, they're pretty ... easy,” she replies, and by that I understand they aren’t hurting her too much.
“What’s the weather like today, Mom?”
“Not so good, stuff is coming all over and it’s ... heavy,” she explains, and I confirm that she means it’s rainy and grey.
“Yes! That’s exactly!” She adds.

Mom turned eighty-three on Election Day.

“That can’t be!” she exclaimed.
“So, how old do you feel, Mom?”
“Well, I hadn’t really thought about it.”
“Fifty?” I asked.
“No, not quite.”
“I think you’re about right.”

That day was a good one for her. She seemed more lucid, sharp.

“Mom, you’re great,” I continued.
“Well, thank you veddy, veddy much,” she spouted in her usual upbeat way, “but you’re the great one.”
“You know why I’m great, Mom?”
“Because you’re my daughter,” she answered plainly, and I knew she was on her game.

Today’s conversation wasn’t so good, though at least she was happy-go-lucky. I told her about Calvin and she asked when she’d get to meet him, forgetting that she’d met him before. I mentioned the difficulty in traveling with Calvin and she wondered why. “Well, Mom, because he can't talk and he can't walk by himself and he's still in diapers, so it makes travel hard,” and I went on to explain about his seizures and the drugs. “I'm so sorry,” she said in a sad tone, “will he ever ... grow up?” I told her I wasn't sure but that I didn't think so.

“When are you coming to visit?” she asked for the third time.
“I’ll try to get out there in the springtime, Mom.”
“OHHHH! That would be super-duper! I better write that down somewhere so that I remember,” she added, concentrating.
“I’ll remember for you, Mom, you don’t have to worry about a thing.”
“Oh, all right, if you say so,” she piped.

Then she asked me again when I’d be visiting.

September 2012

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