as i watch my mom battle her pains, and my father as he battles his fears – the fear that his companion of more than 61 years may be seeing her last year or days, there’s a part of me that wants to sit and cry, there’s a part of me that wants to reach out and hold them, there’s a part of me that wants to run, singing at the top of my lungs…pushing her wheelchair in a big giant field of sunflowers letting her soak up the sun’s rays and breath in the fresh air.
she’s not in a good place right now. that’s the truth. i ask myself, would i want to be living this way? she has no choices, no independence, no way of communicating her thoughts. she spends half the time in the bathroom or at her painting table, and the other half in bed. she’s lost almost all control of her life. perhaps this is why she appears so stubborn. her mind is so sharp and so happy when someone understands, anyone.
she shakes her head and refuses to drink her water, or to eat her favorite lox and bagels. we tell her to stay in bed until grover, her night caregiver, can assist her to the bathroom, but she insists on trying to get up herself. she’s not strong enough, and she slides to the floor. is she trying to stop living? or is she holding onto the few things in life that she can control – telling us in her own silent way, ‘i don’t have to listen to you. i can still do what i want to do. you can’t make me do anything i don’t want to do.’
in frustration, my father yells at her. he doesn’t mean to, but he’s scared. he can’t understand why she doesn’t listen. maybe it’s because no one can hear her. she’s living in a chair, or a bed, and there’s no where to go, no one to understand her.
i listen with my heart and hold her hand. tell me what you want? her writing is a scribble that’s impossible to decipher. pushing the keys on the computer takes too much effort, and no words appear on the screen.
she’s telling me with tears in her eyes ‘you can’t hear me. take me somewhere different’. i grab her sunglasses, i push her in her chair, into the sun, and run. i notice she can still hold onto her hat. and she smiles.