It’s Mother’s Day and so our thoughts turn to our mothers and all they have done for us. My mother, Stella, was a real beauty, a true child of the prairie, she could run across a field and jump on a horse and ride it bare back, when she was a girl.
It wasn’t always easy to see that bright athletic girl in her when she grew older, when she grew old. Her final days were not easy ones, she was in physical agony on account of osteoarthritis, and then her mind was ravaged by Alzheimer’s Disease. When she died, of course I was sad, but I was relieved as well. It really was a tough go for her at the end.
I’ve been watching the progress of my friend Michael Finner’s mother as she, now, enters into the endgame. It’s not easy for Michael or his brother Frank and sadly it sounds all too familiar to me.
After his visit with his mother today, Michael shared the following on Facebook, and kindly agreed to share it here on my blog. So here’s my best friend and publisher Michael J. Finner talking about visiting his mother on mother’s day:
To Whom It May Concern :
I went up to the extended care unit to see my Mother today. She was quietly sleeping and after I put a bouquet of flowers by her bed I sat down and watched her for a while. Like a dream within a dream, pushing well into her 90’s now, she reminds me of a little bird. And it seems like she grows smaller every day. No doubt, one of these days, she will just up and disappear.
I am very thankful that at this time of her life she is very peaceful as well as comfortable as she is. Oh, yeah, once and awhile she lets go with a verbal blast aimed at no one in particular. But I think that’s just to let you know she’s still very much alive. And although there’s always the pretended outraged expression of ” Oh, …. Mother! ” it is very hard to keep from laughing. In truth, sometimes we laugh together. Howl might be a better description. I think this is probably just her way of getting a rise out us and anyone else who happens to be in the vicinity. Her sense of humour, if nothing else, is completely, or at least for the most part, intact.
Yes, there are days when she wonders who I am. Where she is. Who the nurse is. The one she was calling by name only a moment ago. She usually confuses me with my brother Frank. And vice versa. Her cognition and her eyesight are going but not yet completely. Finding out dementia was come on followed by the news she was going blind really took it out of me and I must say I sadly lacked in the stiff upper lip category when I learned the same. My Mother always was, and is, a far, far braver person than I. We usually close each visit with a little kiss. Then she tells me that she loves me and of course, just like some kind of prayer, I tell her the same. Dementia or no. It is as it always was and always will be. Unconditional love.
So here is to Mothers everywhere. The ones I know personally . The ones I don’t know at all. May God’s love (whichever one you believe in) shine down upon You and Yours. Each and every day of your lives. As for my previous mention of the disappearing act that comes to us all – in closing let me leave you with this thought that crossed my mind as I was leaving my Dear Mama today.
This observation was made by Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfeet Nation some time ago. Somehow it always leaves me at peace.
What is life?It is the flash of a firefly in the night.It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
Thank you, Michael.
Thanks for reading.