Sunday, August 22, 2010
The Land of the Old
My mother will be 86 next month. Last summer she was dying. This summer she's alive, but frail. Shrinking a bit each time I see her like my 16-year-old cats. Like them, she eats tiny meals and then naps. Walks slowly, not quite steady on her feet. She lists a bit to one side due to osteoporosis--kind of like my dog Layla who has nerve degeneration and is losing control of her body a vertebrae at a time. My mother is hard of hearing like my dog Lola, and it takes certain moves to communicate with her. Face her. Ennunciate. Take your time.
My mother and I are on our own this weekend. She lives with my brother and his girlfriend who've gone off for some well-earned time to themselves. Coffee. Breakfast. Lunch. Drinks and an appetizer. Dinner. In between these daily milestones my mother naps while I read or lie on the couch and think.
A few years back when my mother and her twin still lived on their own in my cousin's basement apartment, Mr. Ex and I used to visit. He hid out in our upstairs guestroom watching the Country Music Channel. He avoided my aunt and my mother. Yeah, they smoked. Yeah, they were different from his family with their martinis and their opinions about everything. Yeah, they were in-laws, and he didn't have to love them.
And now here I am, free to come and go--west coast to east and back whenever I please. My mother is not a burden, but it would have been a burden to carry Mr. Ex through these visits.
What lucky sweetness that I am allowed to live in this ephemeral place without the weight of Mr. Ex to keep me from relishing it.
photo: blogs. neuronring.com