Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Juxtaposition

What a strange time.

My mother is increasingly confused and her memory is slipping away day by day, it seems. She recently had another small stroke--not enough to incapacitate her--just enough to take another piece of her functioning. She's having a series of these.

She is forgetting people she knows well, forgetting to eat, forgetting what day it is. Sunday she was quite distressed about this, knowing it was happening to her, but powerless to do anything about the fog in which she was enveloped. She said to me, "Something has happened to my mind. I am just blank." I explained what was happening, as simply as I could, but in about 3 minutes she said again, "Something is happening to my mind."

A very sad time, and a waiting time. Will she improve (she has in the past) or will she continue to slip away, bit by bit? I'm at home instead of at church because she is very confused this morning. I think I can go soon though. She is out in the sunshine pulling weeds--always a good sign.

A few days ago my pregnant daughter called. She'd just had her second ultra sound, and now we know


It's a girl!

So this little life inside her has a name, Trinity Ann. Mom-to-be laughed happily as she described how the technician would get things set, trying to get good pictures of organs. Then an arm or a leg would flail, and once the baby did a complete flip. The tech told her, "This is a very active little fetus. Get ready for an interesting time with this one!" Daddy had his first experience feeling a "bump" as he placed his hand on my daughter's tummy.

My mother had picked up the other phone, so she heard the conversation. After we hung up, she said, "So a baby is on the way? I didn't know that! Won't that be fun? We will all have the experience of seeing this little one grow." She had forgotten about the pregnancy.

"Yes" I replied. "It will be wonderful to have a little child around. And we will all see her grow up."

Hope springs eternal. My mother still somehow believes she will live forever. And she will--just not here.

It is a strange mix of emotions, this watching life about to begin and life about to end.

14 comments:

D. P. said...

My heart does out to you. This sounds so much like the way my grandmother was when she was living with my parents, before they put her in a nursing home. May God give strength and grace to you all!

Quotidian Grace said...

It's hard to have your emotions tugged in two different directions at the same time. I hope your mother improves some.

Meanwhile, congratulations on baby Trinity Ann!! What a thrill.

His Singer said...

A bit of advice as things grow dim for your mother...

Write things down in a book for her. Bits of news, things you've told her, visitors she's had day by day - kind of a running journal of her life. Include photos, cards, etc. As her memory grows shorter she will enjoy looking through the book time and time again to see who came to see her, who called, who is pregnant, who still cares....and you don't have to constantly keep retelling her things you've said time and time again. It keeps her mind occupied and at peace. I did this for my Gram before she passed away, and she spent many happy hours going through the book over and over and over again.

Blessings!

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

Oh SO, you know that I am going through some of the mother-ill stuff too, and it is so sad at times. I feel for you both (or all three of you). And in mom's case, it seems that she mostly can think and remember correctly, but she can't get the words to express herself. She sounds, to others, as though she doesn't know what is going on. I think she does, though, because her sense of humor is great. But it is really hard to talk to her on the phone. I have to play guessing games about what she is trying to say. The memory isn't what it used to be, but then, her memory used to be about 200% of what other people are.

I thought I was an empathetic person, but I had no idea what all this was like.

Plus, it isn't fun to see a glimps of the possible future.

HeyJules said...

Leave it to God to mix the day's blessings with one from each direction.

SingingOwl said...

Good idea, HS. I am going to do that. I am also going to get a small dry erase board to put daily info on...date, day, where I am and when I'll be back, etc.
Thanks, everyone.

revabi said...

The twilight hours for your mom, and genesis for your grandaughter to be.
How painful and joyful of a time for you.

hipastorzwife2B said...

What wonderful ideas. I am so glad she seems to be entering this time, gently, instead of in an angry way. Many do.

Psalmist said...

Dear sister, you and your mom and your daughter and granddaughter-in-the-making -- oh dear, just ALL Y'ALL as we say down here-- are in my prayers. I hate that there is the heartache in witnessing your mother's decline, but if it MUST be so, I'm very glad that you have the joy of your grandchild as well. I don't know if this juxtaposition--good term!--can be said to "balance out." In joy and in sorrow, my sister, may you feel God's loving arms holding you all close and safe.

net said...

((((singing owl))))

see-through faith said...

hugs and love xxx congrats on the granddaughter -what a lovely name!

Being Made said...

(I found you at the CBE blog and came on over to read....)

I so understand this juxtaposition... while I've not been in YOUR shoes, I've been in the shoes of one who was experiencing life and death major events all at once.

I was 6 months pregnant when my Mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer....

And my daughter was 4 months old when she died.

It does strange things to one's heart. It makes both events sweeter, and hurt more all at once.

Praying for you, your daughter, and your Mom.

chartreuseova said...

Prayers of peace for you and sacred comings and goings.

Questing Parson said...

You, your mom, your daughter and Trinity Ann are in my heart and prayers.