Mark's story... Puppy dog eyes
It was already a long weekend but spring was in motion, and the long night was coming to an end. It was 6am, and I heard the birds beginning to sing, gradually opening the day with the wonderment of life.
The previous 12 hours were rough. Mom was confused about where she lived, continually asking me if I could take her home, pleading with me. Although she was under hospice care for some five months by this time, she was very mobile, and would continually wander throughout the house, looking at family pictures, trying to find her identity, asking questions, asking where her brothers Teddy and Danny were and, where was her Mom? All three had died some 35 to 50 years before. I was at my wits end with trying to answer the non-stop questions. I wasn't having much success.
Nothing I said seemed to make sense to Mom. Although I tried to change the subject to redirect her thinking, she was fiercely intent on trying to understand who brought her here, and when, and where was her Mom? Although Mom had now been living with me for some eight and a half years, she simply could not make the connection at that moment - and this was an ongoing and escalating pattern.
It was hour after hour of questions well into the wee hours of the night.
I was exhausted.
It was totally beyond my comprehension or grasp that she could maintain her stamina. It was now about 4am, and only then did Mom finally lie down on the couch, no doubt exhausted herself by this time.
I must have slept only a few hours before awakening to the sounds and songs of the birds. It was getting light out, and although I was in a blurry state, I decided to make some coffee and sit outside on the deck. Except for the sounds of the birds, the morning brought a deafening silence, and the tears slowly drained from
my eyes and soul, onto my cheeks. I was drained and troubled, but the day was just beginning.
I tried to buy some additional time, waking up Mom at 7am to get started. Aside from suffering from dementia-Alzheimer's, Mom was a brittle insulin-dependent diabetic and had to be closely monitored. So, I had to prepare her meds, give her an insulin shot, and prepare a soft-food breakfast that she could easily swallow. Eating and swallowing was becoming an issue. Once all tasks were successfully completed, Mom sat back down on the couch sipping her coffee and cocoa mix drink. She was quiet, and with a seemingly reflective disposition. The long night seemed to have taken its toll on her as well.
Moments later, Mom got up and walked slowly into the kitchen. In her 4' 10" stature, and puppy dog drawn and weary eyes filled with tears, she looked up at me and said, "I'm sorry...I don't know what I'm doing". With open arms, Mom walked up close to me and sobbed softly into my shoulder.
I will never forget that hug, and Mom's words..."I'm sorry... I don't know what I'm doing...I love you". "I love you too, Mom". Momentarily, she was back, and all the pain from the previous 12 hours had magically vanished. It was behind us. And, for just moments, there was mutual peace and tranquility. Nothing in the world at this time could have been more wonderfully peaceful and memorable.
It was the beginning of a new day, and the joyful melodies of the birds were signalling its welcome!
I was not alone.