Memories of my mother

I’m not sure what my oldest memory of my Mother is. I remember her. She towered over me. Her hair was jet black. That is a far cry from the woman I saw 48 hours ago. Her hair was now white, her body crippled by a stroke. My mother’s voice, a voice I still hear in my mind, was silenced a year and a half ago by the same stroke. And what I know, and she does not, is her cancer is returned. It has spread and by the time the Superbowl comes, she will be gone.

I’m not sure where those old memories are from. My Father was stationed in Washington, DC, when I was under three. Then we went to Holland. My mother raised us in an apartment, on the fourth floor of a building in Amsterdam. I can remember some of the things that happened then and I certainly heard the stories. There was the time I climbed into a window. There was a screen in place, but that could not be seen by the teachers and students of the school across the street. To them, it looked like I was about to do a sixty foot swan dive. They ran across the street and banged on the door, until I was pulled from the window. My brother and I had these plastic jeeps that we sat in and pushed with our feet. They made a horrible noise and the poor man who lived right below us worked at night and slept during the day. He tried to explain the situation in Dutch, to my Mother, who only spoke English.

I sat in the darkened hospital room. People did come and go. My mother was awake, then drifted to sleep. I have never met a woman who liked to talk as much as she did, so it is a certain cruelty that the last stroke took her voice. She can speak some, and some of the people who are around her a lot, say they can understand her. I cannot.

I held my mother’s hand. It was hot and soft and so very small. She has pneumonia, so she was running a fever. I wondered when was the last time I had held her hand. As a baby, I know my hand would have reached up and reflexively grabbed her finger. As a little boy, I know I held her hand when I went to the store and through a parking lot. I have a four year old and a six year old. The six year old was not happy about me holding his hand when we went Christmas shopping at the mall. By next year, he will probably refuse.

I let her sleep. The nurse had given her a shot of pain killer. I think about all the memories. The good times, the not so good times and the times that might have been or perhaps should have been. But I know, she has little time left.

Soon, all I will have are memories of my mother.

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2 Responses to “Memories of my mother”

  1. IM Russell Says:

    Beautifully written.

    I lost my mother when I turned 30 and she was 53, it was cancer and she went quick…seeing your own mother, always so strong and lively, lie there helpless is such a surreal and emotionally heart wrenching experience. We truly become adults when our mothers leave us. Very sad day indeed.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family during this time.

  2. Wow! That touched my heart in ways that words can not express. I lost my husband to complications after heart surgery 5 years ago that lead to stokes. I know the helplessness you feel. Especially as a parent there are so many things that you “fix” on a daily basis, and knowing that you can not “fix” what is happening now is one of the hardest things you will face. Know that God will see you and your family through this. Your mother knows your love for her, and you know her love for you as shown in the passage above. You are a special son. Thank you for sharing, friend.

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