Monday, August 20, 2007

The Problem With Mom

I now have a housemate. Mom moved in yesterday.

We get along better than most I think. There are no hardcore personality clashes or overbearing traits of which to write about. In fact I thought of selling my house once and moving in with her. So I find it funny when the first thing I get from others is a cringe and an apology as to my sanity. I imagine the first thought has to do with some Overbearing Mother Syndrome.

Mom is a beautiful person. People used to think she was my big sister sometimes when she came to pick me up from school. She has a tattoo of a vampire bite on her neck and a phoenix on her arm. She loves comic books and anime and Star Wars. She got me to breathe when I starting shaking at my wedding rehearsal. She does not tolerate brash stupidity or being lied to. She has wonderful handwriting. She always knew how to take care of me when I got my annual vomity sickness. She was a very strong person.

Oh, how I wish that her being an interfering busybody were the reason for condolences. I wish I could write about how it's going to be great that she's here. I wish I could tell you that.

Mom is not strong anymore. Doctors can't tell her what's wrong. She is in pain all of the time. She is slowly losing weight. She can only eat a few types of foods that don't make her sick. She can't take drugs that might help, because most the side effects make her even more sick. She can't move with speed or dexterity. She can't push or pull or drive. She doesn't have the physical well being to hold any kind of job anymore. She is exhausted to the point of tears but does not ever sleep.

So the problem with mom is that..we don't know what the problem actually is.

She is down to 100 pounds. When I hug her, she is only a fragile frame of what she once was. When I hug her I can feel the bones in her wearily protrude with hardly anything but a layer of skin to separate them from my touch. While only a mere unit of measure, only a fraction of a space between 100 and 99, I greatly fear for the depth at which her state of mind will plummet the next time she has to approach that scale and the nurse tells her "You need to eat more..." I kind of fear for the nurse as well. With every pound of flesh she loses along with it goes a portion of her hope and will to continue.

But it is not only her body that is a crumbling structure. What remains of her spirit is hanging from it, almost crucified, nearly suffocated. She doesn't care to see the living anymore. Her anger and jealousy tell her it's not fair to see people healthy and living their lives. It's not fair to be a mere witness. To just exist and nothing else.

The only time we go out is a weekly trip to take her grocery shopping. It takes her three times as long to walk, to think, to read, to try something new and decide whether it will make her even sicker. She's tired of eating. She's tired of trying, failing and weeping. She's tired of living.

And yet she can't ever fall sleep.

I don't try to tell her anymore that it will all be okay, when all my hand can feel when I hug her are the segments of her spine, no muscle or fat or substance that has now vanished. I don't tell her anymore not to be sorry for imposing on me when nothing can console. I don't think there are any words that can heal. I am not a doctor and the ones we've seen haven't done any good.

I don't say anything at all. I just breathe comfortably like she told me to once before. The air of my calm is all that I can pass onto her. But we are here together nonetheless.

4 comments:

This Boy Elroy said...

You're a good son. I'm sure she knows that and is taking comfort in it. Big Hug!

daniel said...

omg! you are amazing to handle it as well as you are. it depresses me to even see my mother age! as was said, hugs to you. you are good to be there for her!

Eric said...

You are a sweet, sweet son. What you're doing for your mom is everything you can do. Best wishes to you both.

Brian said...

Sending you and your mom good thoughts. Take care.