This morning my stomach hurt. It was very familiar.
I still remembered the day my colitis began. It was several years ago when I entered a rehab facility where my mother had recently been transferred. As I walked down the hallway, suddenly the smells overwhelmed me – I had to find a bathroom immediately because I was sick.
That was the beginning of a horrible condition where I always needed to find a bathroom quickly. My aching stomach controlled me.
During any crisis I’ve faced in the past, I was always on “high alert.” How quickly that feeling has come back to me!
Today, it did not feel like it was a “holiday.” Last night I had cancelled my New Year’s plans and stayed at the hospital with my mother.
Now, all that mattered for me was keeping myself calm enough to cope. I needed to face the challenge of my mother’s situation with courage; it could be a “long haul.”
I wondered if I would continue singing or maintaining any semblance of my musical life. When I had those thoughts about a “long haul,” it certainly wasn’t helpful.
I spoke with my husband and he was definitely helpful for me. Because he had suffered tremendously with the deterioration and death of both his parents, he truly understood and empathized. His support buoyed me, because he agreed with me 100%.
He did not doubt for one moment that I was doing anything but making the best decision for my mother. For that, I was grateful!
A year ago, I wrote emails with detailed updates about my mother’s condition. I’ve decided that my blog is a better way to share.
At this moment, I’d rather write my feelings instead of medical details . . .
Today, when I entered my mother’s hospital room, she didn’t bawl like a baby to see me, as she had the day before. Instead, she was gently dozing; I noticed she had finished a bowl of oatmeal. Later on, I found out an exceptionally, kind nurse had fed her.
Although, there were some unpleasant moments today, overall it wasn’t the ordeal I had anticipated.
I woke up this morning on “high alert;” ready to face whatever crisis would erupt.
Instead, of the “tortured memories” that I had anticipated – I realized that there were still “touching memories” for me to discover.
I only had to look for them!
My father did not cry once today. He usually wouldn’t get close to my mother, and was irritated when I “prodded him.” Today, when he went over to her bed to say goodbye – I took his picture.
I assisted my mother so she could brush her own teeth. Afterwards, she was radiant. She asked me if I wanted to get ready for bed, too. I joked and said, “Shall I climb into bed with you?” We both laughed.
Today I even wrote song lyrics while she dozed. I felt inspired.
It was on New Year’s Day, exactly a year ago, that I shared a picture of my mother while on a respirator. She was smiling and it was a beautiful picture for me.
Here it was a year later, and my mother had beaten the odds and got off that respirator. I decided to take more hospital pictures.
As my post title says, “I can’t live in the past, because something went wrong.”
I am living in the present.
There is no longer any “right or wrong” for me.
All that matters for me is that there are quality moments for my mom – without pain!
Below is correspondence with my good friend, Steve (his words are in blue):
That picture of your Dad saying goodbye to your Mom was very touching.
My mom agreed to the pictures – of course, she’s not in her usual state of mind – she didn’t worry if her hair was combed. What was important is that she was happy and wanted to show everyone.
That means so much more to know your Mom agreed to the pictures.
Hmm – maybe I should write that in the blog so people won’t have doubts. What do you think? I also took pictures of her with her granddaughter, Marisa, which I plan to share with my brother. Marisa took the pictures for me – my mom loved looking at them, too.
Yes, it gives us a better idea of what shape she was in your visit, that she was alert and showing interest in things like the pictures.
Thanks for the advice, Steve. I’ll do that.
© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Thanks for the update. That picture of your Dad saying goodbye to your Mom is very touching.