I love you Mom….
It is going to be a difficult day. The family will gather at the nursing home for Mom’s 83rd birthday. She hasn’t taken nourishment now for eight days and only lays in bed and sleeps. Friends and family bring her treats, trying to get her to eat. How do you celebrate? We will put on our happy faces and fumble for some happy words to say. The little ones will help, of course. They will give her hugs and kisses and sing Happy Birthday to her. They love birthdays and birthday cakes!
Birthdays are supposed to be happy, forward-looking occasions. Mom isn’t looking forward and I really don’t know if she is looking back either. She seems to be in limbo, just waiting for it to be over. Death is a mysterious thing to the living. When my Dad was dying I tried to get up the courage to ask him what he was feeling and thinking but it seemed to personal a question. I have the same feelings now, wanting to know what Mom is experiencing but unable to put my thoughts into words. She knows she needs to eat but seems to be unaware that by not eating her body is dying. She just says she isn’t hungry. She doesn’t seem happy or unhappy, content or discontent. She wants her curtains closed, her room is like night around the clock. She has no questions about the family or even the weather. When we tell her that her body needs food she says, “I know”.
When I visit her I can only stay for a few minutes because there is no conversation. I say all the usual things, ask if she wants or needs anything. She answers yes or no but has no comments or questions for me. She either drifts back to sleep or just stares at me. I wonder what she thinks as she watches me just sitting on the side of her bed.
We will go through the motions today, pretending it is a happy day……