After a week away, I'm always so glad to get back to my bed, my dogs, my Beve. But I feel sad tonight as well. For myriad reasons. I had a wonderful few days with SK in her busy college world. Making an enormous pot of pasta for her housemates and her which disappeared much more quickly than I'd imagined. Talking seriously with one of her roommates about boys, decisions, 'ground zero' in dating--which for her, a committed disciple of Christ, should be whether the young man is also following Him. Watching SK's choir practice (which I also did last fall, and wrote about then, and you can read about here).
I fed, cared for, and had lots of time with SK. All very good for a mother's need to nurture. And last night watched her in her directorial debut, when she directed The Vagina Monologues. Something well worth seeing. Usually shown on college campuses on Valentine's Day, Whitworth has shown this gripping drama only twice, later in the spring because of their calendar. It is provocative, challenging, very humorous, sometimes painful and well worth seeing, for both sexes, and in the end, empowering. When SK stood up and asked all the women who performed and watched who'd been abused physically, sexually, emotionally, spiritually to stand, it was breath-stealing. Even more breath-catching was the number of those who had known someone touched by abuse--almost everyone in the theater. One couldn't leave unchanged by the experience. She did fine work, helping put it together, directing these women.
Hard to leave her this afternoon. I miss her. Miss her more thinking she won't be home this summer. Knowing her life is in Spokane now. It made me sad all across the state. My baby has grown up. Exactly as she should have. Exactly as we raised her--all three of them--to grow. Grow up and leave us.
And speaking of leavings, I think I might have seen my mother for the last time. The swelling in her face, hands and feet imply that either her heart or kidneys or both are shutting down, so the end is near...whatever 'near' means. And as we drove across the state today, I was surprised to discover that I felt sad about this possibility. My mother has absolutely no quality of life. Knows nothing. Recognizes no one, can do nothing for herself. And yet I feel sad about the idea of her dying. Were she to regain all cognition, all mental acuity, all personality in particular, I imagine the tremendous stress I would feel in having to re-engage with that woman. But the idea of this blob of a human organism ceasing to breath somehow feels like a loss. And when I identify what that loss entails, it is the loss of my childhood.
I realize how ridiculous that sounds. I am 52 years old. Not only not a child myself, but am old enough that all of my offspring are also adults. Yet one's parents are a hedge against old age. With the death of one's last parent that last wall disappears. We become the oldest generation in our family. And there is something jarring about that. At least for me. I cannot help grieving it a little. I have already lost my mother, of course. The moment she fell down the stairs and broke her ankle, I lost her. Any relationship I ever had or hoped to have with her died then. Now, when I have a question about her life, or her parents' lives, I have to rely on my own memories or those of my siblings to help me solve such riddles.
I think about these things. As I sewed for my niece's wedding, I thought about such things. As I tried to take what burdens I could from my sister, I'd think of such things. It's how I am. Thinking about my mother's swelling face, wondering how I'll feel when she dies, wondering when it will be, hoping for it, dreading it all at once. I admit it's a mixed bag. And strange that it should be so. It surprises me that it is. I hate seeing her this way. But when it's over, I'll mourn. And maybe that's the biggest surprise of all.