I started writing this last week, and have had trouble finishing. I know it’s just a blog post, but this is hard, you guys. XO, GIMB
I’m starting to feel the effects of the Xanax I popped as I sit by my mom’s side in her very calm, warm, peaceful room at hospice. Which is why I can write/type/whatever it is I’m doing right now. This was not my first choice of activities in 2015, but here I am. And here she is. And there she goes.
I’ve written here before about my mom more than once. Her unexplained decline, my “a-ha” moment of gluten ataxia, and how her brain damage has progressed to a depressing, and now deadly, point. So I feel I should finish the story and let you all know the ending. I guess you know the ending, actually, since it’s everyone’s ending.
The day before New Year’s Eve my mom fell. This wasn’t the first time given her diminished coordination, vision weirdness, and overall weakening. But it was the worst time, and she broke her hip. We all know how the broken hip is an arbiter of nothing good, and well, sure enough nothing good came of that. On New Year’s Eve my mother had surgery on her hip. The actual hip part of the surgery went very well, but the rest of my mother began to slip.
First she could talk, but was not making a lot of sense. Just a few sentences here and there. Then she became incomprehensible. Then she stopped talking altogether.
My mother made her wishes clear a long time ago. She did not want to live a diminished life. As an intellectual, an English teacher, photographer, lover of nature and literature, my mom’s brain was on full-speed, all the time. All of that changed about 9 years ago, give or take. I hate that I wasn’t able to allow her that one wish—not to live like she has been for several years now. But she isn’t any longer.
My mom passed away very peacefully on Monday, January 12th around 8:30 in the morning. I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever get over, but there is the relief in knowing she did, finally, get what she wanted.
I’m not sure how to honor her memory other than to let you all know what an amazing woman she was. She inspired so many students, including this one. Yes, my mother was my English teacher which was not at all awkward in high school. Ahem. Still, because of her I developed a voracious appetite for literature, politics, debate, art, and continuous learning. She introduced me to one of my favorite authors in high school by handing me Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. She inspired me to change careers when she launched a new one herself, upon retiring. She taught me so many things, at so many different times. Her fate was supremely unfair (and I can hear her saying, “Life isn’t fair, darling” as I type.)
I will miss my mom, and have been missing her for years now, every single day. Please read a great book, think of my mother, and take care of yourselves.