As my feet step up onto the deck of mom’s house and I reach out to open the door, so familiar, so routine, it strikes me that some day I won’t be coming here to this house. Every day since dad died, I have made my visit to mom’s and yes sometimes more than once a day depending on what I need to do. It somehow has kept my dad alive and kept things “normal”. Except there is nothing normal about the situation. Inside this door when I open it, my mom will be waiting. She will either be sitting in her chair in the living room or laying down in the bedroom. But she will be wondering when my dad is coming home.
She has good days for sure, but then there are the bad days, like yesterday. I could tell she had been crying when I arrived because she was in the bedroom and came out sniffling. Mom never cries in front of anyone. She was upset because she had just had a phone call from a well-meaning relative who had asked her questions and she did not know how to answer. She didn’t know if my dad was alive or not, where all of her children lived, where all of her grandchildren lived or what anyone was doing. I was able to talk with her and make her feel better, laugh a little and eat her dinner. She phoned me three more times later that evening, asking the same questions each time. Each time I explained the same things to her. “Is this going to get better?” she asks. I tell her that we can hope it will. Eventually, she took her bedtime pills, which helps with her anxiety and she was able to go to sleep, (I didn’t get anymore calls).
It is torture for her because she knows she does not remember, therefore, she does not want to go out or see people or have to answer any questions. The worst part for her is not remembering that my father died or any part of the funeral. I’ve noticed lately that her stories are becoming tangled together, combining parts of one story with another. She also makes up a lot more stories because she can’t remember. She tells me what she’s done that day but none of it is true.
Today, as I open the door I can only pray that it is a good day. For her sake.