Once I came on the scene, she still looked happy in photos. Doesn’t everyone? But she wasn’t so happy off camera.
My Dad wasn’t so nice to her. Sometimes she retaliated by not being so nice to him. Sometimes there was yelling in our house. But mostly there was the “silent treatment”. Which was worse than the yelling.
After my Dad died, my Mom became kind of wild again. Well, as wild as you can get in your 60s. She did a lot of bus trips with the local senior citizens group. All her widowed friends went along. She was happy then. And it was the first glimpse I got of her quirky sense of humor.
But then her health went bad. She had rheumatoid arthritis that so disfigured her hands and feet that I don’t know how she even walked. She didn’t say much about it, but she was in a lot of pain. (I saw the wincing.)
Then she got a wound that wouldn’t heal and eventually led to her being in a nursing home because I couldn’t keep up with the care.
During the year that I spent running to her house one to three times a day to clean and bandage her wound, wash clothes, buy groceries, clean her house, and take her to her 3 doctors, my Mom, seeing how worn out I was, asked, “Do you think God is punishing you or me?”
While my Mom was in the nursing home, I wrote down some of her observations that struck my funny bone, such as:
Mom: “They keep making me walk backwards in physical therapy. Why?! I don’t ever walk anywhere backwards! I wouldn’t walk backwards even if I was on the road to hell!”
Mom: Talking about a priest that visited her. “He’s so nice and so good looking. And he really talked to me about stuff. Ya know, not just about God.”
Me and Mom: I asked Mom why they kept moving her ‘roommates’ out of her room at the hospital. “Are you partying too much? Too noisy?” I asked. Mom answered, “Well, I do have a lot of male visitors.”
Mom: “They brought Ella’s food and I started laughing. She asked me, ‘What are you laughing about?’ And I said, ‘Look at your plate.’ Ella says, ‘What? It’s mashed potatoes and gravy. What so funny?’ She couldn’t see that the two mounds of mashed potatoes looked like boobs. Those women have no sense of humor.”
And, of course, I couldn’t resist a poem. When my Mom visited our house about four years ago, she kept looking around, her mouth agape, and said, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe how wonderful your life turned out!” There were tears in her eyes for cryin’ out loud. So…
Mom, sorry to tell you
happily every after didn’t last.
True love it appears
Is a thing of the past.
Good for today
As long as it’s fun.
But when there’s no party
Well, then we are done.
I can hear your cautions
Though I try to keep them at bay,
“Don’t smile too much,
Someone will take him away.”
You’re not here to provide.
But it’s best you don’t see this
Change in the tide.
Don’t cry for me Mom
or shake your head.
I’m happy in my adventure
There will be no fear or dread.
I love you and miss you Mom.