In the last 3 years of her life, I cared for my Mom 3000 miles away for 2-3 weeks at a time, 3-4 times a year; trying to give my sister and my niece what is technically called respite care---to give them a break. It wasn't easy to be so far from home, but we three siblings and our daughters were determined to help her die in her own home and we rotated through doing that respite care.
Mom was lucid for most of my visits except for a brief period a year or so before she died, which we discovered was caused by the statin she was on. When we had her doctor ease her off that nasty med, she was very present until just a few days before she slipped away.
While I think of her often, of course, lately I have been remembering one warm and loving conversation we had a couple years before the end.
Two or three times during that visit, I came into the room to find her quietly weeping. Not extreme sobbing. Just slow, sad tears. We talked about it. She didn't really feel like she knew why and as she came out of it, we would laugh and chat about what she called "weepy old women". About the incredible slice of history that an 86-year-old woman had seen; about the accumulation of losses for a widow of more than a decade.
Lately, I have been feeling like a Weepy Old Woman. Except I'm only 64, soon to turn 65. Mom was 85. She was also able to climb out on the peaked roof outside David's study at age 70 to wash the windows on the outside. At 64, going on 65, due to arthritis in knees elbows and, most recently, feet, I can barely walk for my essential 60" or so of exercise everyday…..And so I weep….
Now, I did get the shallow end of the gene pool in terms of Dad's T2 diabetes, bless his loving soul, but it seems I also got Mom's iron lungs---she smoked camel straights until a month or so before she died and her lungs stayed clear, as are mine, even though I show the very early stages of COPD---my lung xrays are clear, though I only quit smoking 8 years ago. Weird and cool and so I weep.....
Mom died of kidney failure, ultimately, and, thank the Goddess, I was with her and it was beautifully peaceful in her own home thanks to hospice and Medicare and my amazing family, and so far my kidneys are hanging in there quite well. Not sure about adrenals and liver and Goddess knows what else…..and so I weep…….
Finally----I have to conclude it's about accumulated loss. That is the commonality. But there is a profound difference between generations as to how we acknowledge these losses. How we try—and maybe fail---at understanding these losses. I believe Mom and I had accumulated an equal number of losses by my age. But Mom was indeed a Stoic. And an incredible one. Who spared her children the impact of passing on those losses. Until she couldn't anymore……and so I weep…..
Because now I get it…..Thanks Mom….The weeping is okay. I'll survive…..Love you always......