How much time? How much time is left to hear my mom say my name? To see her eyes light up when she sees me?
Have a appreciated her enough? Was I able to overcome her weakness and humanity and love her enough? Accept her?
How many more hugs? Kisses? How many more times will her eyes look at me? The brown eyes, so much like mine, now opaque, cloudy.
How much more can I give her to show her I love her? How can I show up for her?
It’s been difficult since she’s moved into the most recent assisted living facility. No phone to call her. Hassle to get an aid to bring a phone to her. Not that she was ever a phone person. I just want to call and say “Hi.” But I can’t.
How many more times will her hand hold mine?
All the memories – fragments, flashes. Of her holding my hand when I was a little girl walking to the Avenue. Of her telling me to stop tucking my hair behind my ears. Or asking me why I don’t have earrings on. Of her sitting alone in her living room. Of me trying to get her to come spend holidays with us. Of me being lonely and her being lonely without a bridge to cross.
Did I cater to her enough? Or was I too harsh when she was living with us? When to push her to do the things she could still do and when to help her. Where is the line between what she could do but she didn’t want to do, like showering, and what she really needed help with?
We never know how much time we have, whether a parent, spouse or child. Not just DEATH in caps, but little deaths. The last time we read our child a bedtime story. The last time they hold our hands crossing the street. The last time they played with Barbies.
When going through stuff in the attic, I came across my kids toys that I kept. Barbie’s dressed in the last outfit they wore the last time my girls played with them. Legos with the last structure my son put together still intact. Who knew when the kids cleaned up that it would be the last time they pulled out this toy? What did they move on to? Dating? What replaced Barbie’s or legos?
I feel like that now. When is the last the last? The last meal mom and I shared together. The last time she crocheted. Most of the time we don’t know. Don’t even notice.
But I did know with my dad, the last time I saw him that Sunday before he died. I said goodbye to him and told him what a great dad he was. And as I left the house to drive back to Maryland, I knew it would be the last. Will I have that experience with Mom?