Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My mother was white tonight. The palor of her skin was the color of her hair, her head laying on a mountain of white pillows. When she collapsed into bed she couldn't move, and I wasn't strong enough to make her more comfortable. My brother had to help. She whispered to me that I looked sad. I suppose I did. Failure to thrive is a horrible way to die. Slow weakening until every word, ever gesture takes such effort. I don't want her to decline any further and be conscious of her helplessness. I would rather see her go in her sleep tonight than spend another day losing senses, muscle tone, appetite. It's hard for her to imagine life outside her bedroom now, and I suppose it is making perfect sense that I share her confinement. As much as I appreciate her, love her, am baffled by her, I know I need time out of the house. They all say that, you know. Care-givers need respite. What if the day I pay someone to sit in the blue leather recliner at the foot of her bed, she decides to leave. She may want to go when I'm not there— spare her only daughter the moment of her death. But I want to be there. So I procrastinate about getting help. One week blends into the next week of waiting. The days go quickly though. They are quick with stangeness. I'm tired, and I fantasize about the places I'll visit when she's gone...but for tonight, I'll be here. At 3 or 4 tomorrow morning, when her sleeping pills wear off—I'll be here. I believe the soul lives. And in this life and whatever's next, we need and will need each other.

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