She has fallen twice this week, once in her room and then yesterday in the dining room. Because a urinary tract infection is one of many things that can cause muscle weakness, I bought some UTI home test strips at the drugstore and took them over to her first thing this morning, before I went to work. She was in bed, of course, but I don’t think she had been sleeping. I sat beside her and held her hand. When I leaned over to kiss her on the forehead, she stroked my hair with shaking fingers.
“I’m lucky to have you,” she said. “There wouldn’t be much to my life if you weren’t in it.”
I hate that it’s come to that. I hate that I had to take her away from her life – her friends, her church, her community – in Arizona and bring her to a place where she has nothing but me. I hate that she seems content to doze through the hours between my visits, showing little interest in meals or activities or anything.
People tell me it’s not my job to make her happy; my job is to keep her safe and ensure she gets good food and appropriate medical care. But when it was her job to take care of me, she did so much more than that. My father provided the comfortable home in a good school district, the medical care, the food on the table… and Mom provided the TLC. She held my hair when I was sick and let me crawl in bed with her when I’d had a bad dream. When I was too shy to join Girl Scouts, she became a troop leader to encourage me. She instilled in me a love of books and music – reading to me every night, teaching me the old songs that she sang with my aunts and uncles around the campfire. My childhood is full of happy memories and my mom is at the heart of most of them.
I don’t know how much time she has left in this world, but I don’t want her dozing it all away, just placidly waiting for the sun to go down. I want it to be filled with happy moments, even when I’m busy elsewhere and can’t be with her, even though she won’t remember those moments later. I just don’t know how to make that happen.