Little Bird

Decaying toe. 

Mom and me, May 27th, 2014
I had not been to see Mom for ten days. A bronchial pneumonia kept me away but I was feeling better and hoped I wouldn't spread any germs.

 I'm startled how thin she is and almost unrecognizable. When I call her name, she looks up and gives me a little smile.

"Hello Dear" she says.

I take her back to her room and change her clothing where she has spilled some juice or coffee earlier in the day, She has lost 14 kilograms in the last month. Her arms and legs are thin.  Her  twisted spine shows more than ever. Her breasts hang like little empty sacs. I help her get into clean pyjamas which hang  on her now. The swelling in her left is further evidence of a more complex vascular problem. Her toe is rotting and new clots appearing will eventually do the same thing to her other toes. She walks from the bathroom to her bed in a teeter totter fashion. She asks me  to straighten out her blankets. She is still the clean and tidy freak.

She talks gibberish and I don't understand what she is saying. She asks me about her brother John and hopes she can see him. She talks about the pictures and why those children don't come to play with me. We both hear the noise of a car speed away outside her complex and she asks me what the noise is.

 Her feet and legs are cold but she doesn't seem to notice. The morphine makes her sleepy. She slips in and out. I hold her bony hand. I twirl her ring with the children's birthstones and bring her hand to my lips. She opens her eyes and smiles at me again. She doesn't seem to notice my tears which I can't stop.

She closes her eyes again. I can see her eyes moving underneath her thin lids. I wonder what she is seeing and thinking. I study her hand some more. She has large cracks at the side of her nails. She has dozens of age spots on the top of her hands. Her index finger is crooked. Her hands are so small now. They have done so many things: wrung out clothes, spanked kids' bottoms, shovelled wheat, made bread, ironed clothing, knit slippers, prayed for understanding. Her breathing is even but shallow. The morphine has worked its magic and she is now asleep. Her hand goes limp in mine. I put it back under the covers and watch her for a few more minutes.

Little bird please fly away soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Bonnie what a tender time. Your descriptions leave one raw in a way but also feel so beautifully intimate and loving. You know every inch of your Mom. You have truly taken her under your wing. Your worry and tears and love and decision making are all well spent. As hard as I imagine this process to be I admire the way you choose to live it. love you. xo Nicole