“Can you give me the numbers I need if I want to call you?”
“Sure.” I repeated the numbers for the third time.
“So, those are the numbers I can use to mail you something?”
These are the common conversations with my mother. Repetition. Confusion. She doesn’t know how to spell many words, and doesn’t read very well. I’ve learned not to worry about if she gets the numbers correct, or if I give her the whole address. She is content to have written something down. She doesn’t call like she used to though…she can only call with Dad.
I miss when she would call frequently. I miss when she would send notes or little gifts…like the gift she got at the makeup counter and thought I would like.
I miss when her mind was whole.
She planned and orchestrated and amazing wedding for Steve and I. I mean amazing. I mean the kind of wedding I still get comments on 14 years later. She was the master of pulling together details and making things look elegant.
She hasn’t lost all of that. She still dresses herself well and in coordinating jewelry and hair bands.
Still. I miss the days when she could delight in children. She loved babies and loved children. When we were expecting Zachary, almost 11 years ago, she and my dad came to Vancouver to help us. They came in the door doing a little dance and singing “We’re the doulas, we’re the doulas”…then they scrubbed our house and made the transition to being parents as easy as possible.
She would laugh and tell stories to the kids.
Now she gets impatient with the older children, and her delight in Maddie is, as I’ve said before, the delight of anyone in a baby…not the delight of a Grandmother with her granddaughter.
I do not like to think about these things. I do not like to because it is hard to fight back the tears when I think on who we are missing. It is, as I’ve said before, a long mourning as we watch her slowly change from an elegant and commanding woman to a child-like, confused woman.
It is not right, and it is not as it should be.
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? Romans 8:22-24
Creation knows. We know. There is an ache deep within us that things are not as they should be….as they could be.
Sometimes I try to ignore that ache and that mourning. Sometimes, though, I think we need to be taught to mourn well…even in the midst of circumstances. I often want to hold back the tears until the day that Mom is completely gone. I think it is partly because that will also be celebration because we believe that she will be redeemed in her body and she will be finally complete.
For now, though, this was one of the main reasons for starting this blog. To have a place to write about this experience. It sucks. No way around that…and yet even in this there are things to be learned.
Yesterday was mom’s birthday. The boys called and sang to her and she loved it. She knew in that moment that she was loved and that these were her grandchildren. That was a great moment. That is to be celebrated…and the painful moments are to be mourned. Mourned with hope, though, that ultimately things will be as they should be.