Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When was the last time you spoke to your parents?

This is the question for July 10th from the 365 Questions book and the answer is a little difficult because both my parents have been dead for quite some time. But I do remember a couple of my last conversations with my mom. I was working full-time, had two preteen children at home and would stop by her house every night on my way home from work to check in with her and to have a cup of coffee - the coffee was a great way to spend sometime with my mom to unwind after work and also as a way to ramp up for an evening filled with driving my children to and from activities.

My mom had a number of aliments, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, lung cancer, and emphysema.  She was on oxygen and was finding it harder and harder to breathe and get around. She was unable to back her car out of the garage and unless someone turned her car around she could not drive. Which in my opinion was a good thing, so I conveniently forgot to turn her car around when she asked. She was also blind in one eye and the way she passed the vision test when I took her in to get her driver's licensed renewed was by lying. When the clerk asked what eye the light was shinning in my mom said her left eye, because she didn't see a light and figure it had to be flashing on her blind side.

The year was 2011 and the month was October. She hated the TV and all the news coverage and said she just couldn't live through another war. Wheel of Fortune had been replaced with continual coverage of the towers coming down.  I tried to get her interested in old re-runs of I Love Lucy or Dick VanDyke Show, but she'd have none of that, she didn't find the slap stick humor funny, she was tired and depressed.

The one thing she still wanted to do was shop. She loved shopping. She didn't care clothes, groceries, or the hardware store. Sometimes she was so tried the most she could do was ride along and wait in the car while I ran in and did errands. One evening when I stopped she was insistent on getting a new coat, she had a doctor's appointment the following week and was bound and determined to get a new jacket. She had lost a lot of weight and wanted something new.  She was persistent about needing a jacket and to appease her I told her I couldn't take her shopping the following day.

She had always had a very sharp mind but the last couple of weeks she had been forgetful so I grabbed the pad of paper sitting next to her chair and ashtray and wrote down.  Shopping for jacket on Thursday at 5 o'clock.

She studied the paper and set it back down on the table, we finished our coffee and she seemed content. She reminded me to turn around her car and I told her I would and reminded her I'd be by tomorrow and we'd go shopping. Of course I rinsed out my cup and hustled out the door before she could remember she didn't give me her car keys so I wouldn't be able to turn her car around.

At 4 o'clock in the morning my sleep was interrupted by the jarring ring of the phone. Heart pounding I raced up a flight the basement stairs to the  land line phone in the kitchen. I heard my mother's voice. "Are you coming?"

"Why?" I asked gasped for breath while trying to keep my voice down, I didn't want to alarm my children sleeping in the room next door.

"To take me shopping," she said.

"It's four o'clock in the morning. I'm not taking you shopping until after I get off of work," I explained.

"I have the note right here," she said. "Listen." She read the note back word for word and said, "Does this note say anything about am or pm?"

"No," I said

"Who's the crazy one here?" she said and disconnected.

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