Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Melodramatist Muses: "Thoughts on My Mommy's Demise"

...which hasn't happened yet.

But this morning, when I tried to call her again, her phone was busy. It is never busy. And it is never busy for two straight days.

I called my dad, who lives near to her, but he was unwilling to step in to the situation. So I called my brother at the Lake, my brother in Bluffton, and my sister in Denver to see if any of them had talked to her. No answers on two out of the three, but my brother in Bluffton said he would call the police to go and check on her and he would call me back in twenty minutes.

So for twenty minutes, I imagined my mother having chest pains and trying to use the phone, but just like in "Steel Magnolias" (the movie), she just didn't get the phone dialed and it dropped out of her hand before she could finish the call. And I envisioned her laying there, perhaps still alive, waiting for help, all alone, thinking about her own death, and wondering if someone would check on her and check on her in time.

I speculated if I would have any regrets. Yes, that I didn't visit her more--I've got a visit on the calendar over Labor Day weekend--but now, it would be too little, too late. Still, I was an attentive daughter--called her a LOT. Tried to include her in most of our family plans (sometimes she didn't want to go).

I wish that I thought she had a happier life. Ever since the divorce, she's lived on the poverty line, while--from my point of view--my dad and his wife get to take vacations, travel, eat out, go to shows. My mom doesn't get to enjoy those things much or at all. She's always worrying about money.

I remembered that she once said she wanted her ashes spread at our house in the country, and I vowed I WOULD do it--in the middle of the night, if I had to. I would honor her last wish. I would put a handful at the house in the country, and then a handful off the dock up at the Lake, and then take a handful to the Grand Canyon just for good measure.

I wondered if the death of a parent would be just cause for deleting my hours at the State Fair for the rest of the week. I wondered if that was a selfish thought. And then, I worried if it would interrupt plans to go to Chicago the last week in August. And I KNEW THAT was a selfish thought.

I wondered, why now? Why this time of year--this was when we lost Grandma Carnall, and Stone, and the shadow of 9/11 still casts a pall on early fall. There must just be bad vibes in the air.

And then, the phone rang. It was her. A policeman had knocked at her door to check on her. And an ambulance. I'm sure she was startled, and probably embarrassed. And I was, too, for pushing the panic button.

But everything was fine. She'd been on the phone with my sister, or on the computer, for which she has to unplug the phone to go online. The visit is still scheduled for Labor Day and I'm going to finish out the week at the #$%@ Fair. When I'm up there, it will be just she and I. The boys will stay at home. I'll get her computer hooked up to my brother's wireless system so that being on the computer doesn't tie up her phone line. And I'll get her neighbor's phone numbers. And we'll go shopping. We'll eat out. We'll see a movie or two. I'll buy her some things that she needs as well as some things that she wants. We'll catch up on our busy summers. It will be fun. A mother-daughter weekend that I will savor with my mom.


  1. I'm glad she is ok. And I'm glad you will have that weekend with just the two of you.

    Now if I can just stop crying...

  2. Love your post; have fun with your mom. And please tell her that I said hello, and have wonderful memories of my time at your/her house over the years.

  3. Wow, Chris, I'm glad your mom's okay. I missed the entire divorce and aftermath, so didn't realize how tough she has it now. Savor the weekend, indeed!

    And now, off to read Wendy's blog.

  4. Wow, Chris. I wish I spent more time with my own mom, but she and I have this veil between us that really keeps us from being friends. I have a cynical sense of humor, and she can't decipher my schtick from my honest opinions.