My mother is sleeping more and more, the nurses tell me. She curls up on her bed and dreams of her lost husband, who died more than 20 years ago, muttering his name in her sleep. She’s never gotten over that loss.
She eats like a dying person; here a half-glass of juice, there a couple spoonfuls of applesauce, barely enough to sustain a flicker of life. They tell me this on the phone. I call her about 3 times a week, on average, and over the last couple of months, our conversations have dwindled to me shouting, repeating the same things. “Remember? I’m in Morocco…in Morocco…MOROCCO! In Africa.”
Now the nurses have mentioned the word hospice. They say, “We can’t know,” and “In my opinion,” and “Given my experience in geriatric care.” They are talking about weeks, if that.
I have searched the internet and gotten tickets for a decent price, considering the time of year and urgency of the need. I have called my brother, who lives 10 minutes away from her. My other brother is driving his family from Iowa to Seattle. I fly out early Sunday morning, leaving the kids to finish their last couple of weeks of school without me making their lunches or nagging them to do their homework, leaving Donn to survive on pizza and eggs. (The children are excited to cook! Which means a lot of eggs.) The chances of them going to the beach clean-up organized by the school, or the Parents of Students Association Exhibit, are really slim. On the other hand, I’m sure they will have some fun times, on what Ilsa calls their “pizza and coke diet.”
I’m making phone calls, cancelling weekend plans, opting out of book group (I just joined a book club) and the baby shower next week. I need to go to the medina and pick up a graduation present for my niece and a hostess gift for my brother and sister in law. At night my head whirls with plans and memories, as I simutaneously look to the immediate future and the distant past.
I may or may not post much about it, or much about anything at all. I have some half-finished posts that I might just finish. Life is complex and multi-faceted, after all; we celebrate life and death and love and loss all at once, every day, whether discussing pandemics or soccer scores, or watching the fading flutter of a moth’s wings against the window pane, silhouetted against the dying light outside.