Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Knights in earrings

What to say, what to say...

We spent the few days before Christmas running around and helping my parents prepare. Just as the Christmas things were starting to go on sale, right before the big day, Mom insisted that the contractors’ gifts for next year be packaged. Now. (Dad won’t think to get all of it ready, so I’ll have to remind him and help him next year.) Brooke and I escorted Mom around town, running various errands and trying to restrain her in some way. Fortunately, the craft store had a wheelchair rather than an electric scooter, as we hadn’t had much luck with the grocery store’s scooter. The salesperson behind the seafood counter was very understanding.

On Christmas Eve, I went to Mom’s doctor’s appointment with her. I met her doctor, and we had some good news about her liver function: it’s not great, but the numbers are headed in the right direction. We addressed diet (no need to limit protein, but don’t push it), nutritional supplements (go for it), herbal tea (likewise), and the ominous handicapped parking tag. There is now a handicapped parking tag hanging in the truck, and it expires in 2008 on Mom’s birthday. It’s wishful thinking, I guess, but I wouldn’t mind having to renew it.

Back home, Mom and Dad spent Christmas night with us. I love seeing her pad down to the couch with pillow creases on her shiny head. Very shiny.

Brooke and I returned to their place on Tuesday afternoon, New Year’s Eve eve. I’m sorry to say that we didn’t do much in the way of useful things.

She made us go through her jewelry and clothes and take what we wanted. I have a cloth sack about the size of a Kleenex box full of her jewelry, and we dragged home several department store shopping bags packed tightly with sweaters and jeans and slacks and shirts. I have a navy blue wool suit now.

I’m growing up, I guess. It inspired me to choose my work clothes and jewelry more carefully, more professionally. To choose my jewelry rather than just wear the same things day after day. I’d never buy this stuff on my own, so I might as well appreciate what it is. It was a Big Girl moment for me, though. Last night, Mom was crying in my lap while I rubbed her head and spoke reassuringly. She didn’t want me to leave. I kissed her and hugged her and sent her to bed, telling her I’d wake her before we left. Then, I went to bed and sobbed into Brooke’s neck.

In April, after the zoo reopens, all seven of us will go and explore it. Mom in a wheelchair, Hannah in a stroller. She will be well enough for that. We will take home videos and enjoy each other and ham it up for the camera. And we’ll watch it over and over again and remember how wonderful it was to be together.

More on home videos another day.


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