No Bother

In my family, real life consist of communication about What We’re Going to Do.
I’m going to drop this off at M.’s, then run over to the Jewel and pick up coffee, come home, take a shower, get ready for dinner.
I’m going to pick up Safta (grandmother) at the beauty parlor, drop her off, then run to the cleaners. When I get home I’ll baby sit so that you can go to your appointment.
Stuff like that.  

During the past three years, as my mother's health declined, she lived independently at a retirement center. She rarely asked for help, although she needed it. We could anticipate her needs, but she hated that we had to meet them, so independent for so long. "Go home," she would say, when I checked on her. "Go take care of your family."

If my brother or I wanted to go to a conference (our vacations are always conferences), we communicated well in advance. Someone had to be around in case our mother needed something, in case something happened to her. We always accommodated one another, only too happy to do it.

About a month ago we had a problem. We had a schedule conflict. 

The history:

FD and I rarely leave the country, hardly ever, unless someone in the immediate family is getting married.

But in February he tossed me a pamphlet for a tropical vacation, and a conference we could both attend in the fall. We talked about it as if it was a dream, probably something we couldn’t pull off, but surely an idea worthy of serious consideration, planning.  I offered to present a workshop there, too. Never did reach the right person for that.

As my mother became unsteady it seemed unlikely, this dream. And yet. . . anything’s possible. 

Flash forward: 
Only a few weeks ago, visiting my mother, she seemed tired, too tired. I called my brother and told him that I had to go to work, but that she didn’t look good to me, and if he could stop in to see her after hours, it would be good.  He did and popped her into his car and drove her to the hospital. I was minutes behind. 

In the ER I happened to mention the tropical vacation and my sister-in-law jumped in to say that they, too, had a trip scheduled for the fall, same week-- overseas-- and it couldn’t be changed, the tickets, already purchased.

Oh no. 

Admitted at Evanston Hospital, the hospitalists pumped my mother full of fluid IV and got her sodium up, discharged her in 18 hours, much to my dismay and outrage. Thanks, is what I told the doctor who insisted Mom couldn’t possibly stay longer for observation. Thanks, I repeated as the young professional left the room, finished with this case.  For nothing. .

Not something my mother would have said. 

We went through a nursing home stay, then an admission in another hospital, then a discharge, knowing recovery to be unlikely.  

My mother, always the people-pleaser, passed away last week, four weeks later.  

She probably didn’t want to be a burden.



Anonymous said…
Sorry, TD. Prayers.
GG said…
My deepest condolences.
Anonymous said…
so very sorry for your loss.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I am so, so sorry for the loss of your dear mother. Your descriptions of her, today and in the past, painted a picture of a beautiful woman. Thank you for sharing with us.
Anonymous said…
I am so sorry. I think you're right about not wanting to be a burden. A friend's mother was very ill and the friend would not leave her side. She finally had to step out for a few minutes and her mother passed. A nurse told the friend "your sweet mother wanted to spare you."

I know it doesn't seem that way now, but this was an easier transition for all, comparatively speaking. I hope you come to the point of feeling that someday. Some are in opposite situations -- no matter how much is given it is never ever enough.
therapydoc said…
Thanks friends. I'm sure I'm not finished.
Anonymous said…
My heart goes out to you and your brother - all your family. No matter how 'purposeful' one presents one's self - - there are those of us who are able to see through and anticipate a need. God bless you for your diligence and honor in caring for your mother. This is one of the noblest things a child can do for an aging, ailing parent. I'm sure you did all you could to make her farewell path a bit easier.

Hugs to you,
Anonymous #1
lynette said…
I am so sorry for your loss, so soon after your father. My mom died suddenly almost a year ago on my birthday, and my world has shifted in unimaginable ways, no longer having any living parent.

I wish you peace and healing and many wonderful memories to guide you through your grief.
Hope said…
I'm so sorry for your loss.
Anonymous said…
Therapydoc, I am so sorry for your loss. I enjoy your blog very much, and your mother sounds like a wonderful person in the stories you tell about her. In addition, you sound like a wonderful daughter. My sympathy to you and your family.
BDE. So sorry for your loss.
Leora said…
Baruh Dayan HaEmet. So sorry for your loss of your dear mother.
clairesmum said…
"So sorry for your troubles" as my Irish granny taught me to say. Thank you for sharing your family, including your mother, with those of us who only "know" you in the blogosphere. Take good care of each other in this time of changes.
diane Spooner said…
I am so sorry for your loss.Your mom was blessed to be loved,cared and supported by her family.Please feel free to share your grief as much as needed.God bless you and your family.
Pink Hollyhock said…
We only get one mother. <3 <3 <3
Ariella said…
BDE, so sorry for your loss. Wishing you an easy passage through the grief work.
Purple said…
I'm so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.
Anonymous said…
Sorry for your loss, been there myself, may you find peace and comfort during this difficult time....
Scraps said…
Baruch Dayan haEmet. So sorry for your loss.
Mound Builder said…
My sympathies, TD. It's strange not to have parents here, in this world, with you anymore. May peace and healing find their way to you and yours.
Reese said…
Please have my sympathies. I am sorry for your loss. I've read the posts that you had on your mother and I could tell that she was hardworking, loving and believed in family.
Donna Hill said…
So sorry for your mom passed in 2010 so I well know some of the many emotions you are feeling.
therapydoc said…
Dear Friends,
Thanks to each of the Anons, GG, Erin, Hope, Critically Observant, Lynette, ClairesMum, Leora, Diane, Ariella, Pink, Purple, (You do know my favorite fish is Blue), Scraps, WhatItTakes, MB, Reese, Donna, and anyone else who expressed sympathy here. There will be many notes to write, and I want to say more, but you'll read it all as things tumble out. You, my blogging friends, are special, get me in ways that others who know me probably don't. Anyway, to clarify, the greeting Baruch Dayan Emet is what we say when we hear that someone passed away. Literally it means Blessed is the True Judge. My mother's sudden illness wasn't so sudden, we knew she was sick, but as FD says, at her age there is such a thing called compressed mortality (I think I got that right), which means that when the "elderly" reach a certain point they can't fight off disease like a younger person can, the body simply won't do what it needs to do to get better, and no amount of medicine will repair what must be repaired. The True Judge understood this, took Mom back, and her fingers are no longer blue, and she's got a front seat where it is warm, hanging out with the people she's been hoping to see, my brother, for example. May her memory be a blessing.
Anonymous said…
So sorry for your loss. Your mother sounds like a lovely and loving woman and you do her legacy justice.

I was away and offline and so missed this news. My Mom is 87 and I am blessed to be able to care for her daily. I went away with my husband and son and without her for the first time in many years, and it was with much trepidation. But I guess despite her many conditions she still has that fight and vigour. Despite her dementia, she remembered where we went and asked daily when we would be back. I do love her.

Remember your Mom well and with not too much sadness.

Syd said…
I must have been lost in another world not to have read this post. I am sorry that your mother died. I guess that I was absorbed in my own post death stuff or off on a trip somewhere to have had this slip through without reading. Having lost Mom and Pop this year, my wife and I have struggled with a lot of sadness and days when we simply had to put one foot in front of the other to do basic things. Sad for you.