The World Ain’t Slowing Down

On Thursday, I had therapy.  My counselor was quite pleased, because for the first time in our year together, I was at baseline!  Sure, there was some circumstantial stuff happening, but overall, I was peachy-keen, and we were so pleased with my mood.  Then Friday happened, and I thought, “welp, that was a nice minute of calm.”  I desperately want to get in for an emergency session right now, but my therapist is booked up at the moment so I’m waiting on a call back…which means that you, dear reader, get to play counselor today.

My mother, as I mentioned previously, had a quadruple bypass on the 19th of April.  She came home the following Saturday, and was doing ok.  In the mornings, I would go over and make her coffee and get her pills and wake her up, so Dad can sleep in a little.  On Thursday night, she called and told me not to come over at the usual time, which is between 5 and 6am, because she wanted to sleep in.  So, I set my alarm for 7am, when I have to take my eyedrops.  I woke then, got myself moving, and headed over to Mom’s at about 7:15.  I made the coffee and got the pills, and went into her room to find her sprawled on her back making a terrible noise.  Dad was snoring beside her, completely unaware.  I tried to wake her, but it was no use, so he finally came to when he heard me yelling at her, and tried smacking her in the face.  Nothing.  We tested her blood sugar and it was very low, so we trier to get sugar in her, but she only choked on it, and I had to get behind her and lift her up, which couldn’t be good for my eyes or her heart, but needed to be done.  No use.  So, we called 911.

As I type this, I think of my mother some time in the future reading it, and doing two things: one, she is crying because she feels terrible to have put us through this…which is silly, mother.  Stop that.  And two, she is slightly peeved I’m posting this on the internet, but you know what Maureen?  I can’t talk to you right now, so I’m going to go talk to them.

Anyway, she’s been unconscious since.  There have been slight improvements, in that her brain scan is normal, her blood sugar is normal, and she has been moving her hands and feet and occasionally opening her eyes.  Nurses seem to think she is aware that she’s got tubes in and is in the hospital, but that’s about it.  It has become a long game of wait-and-see.

Friday was extremely hard for me.  It was very triggering of my PTSD.  First, I am confronted by a woman in a bed who is making a terrible sound…just like when I was 8 years old and found my Grammy dying in her bed, her death rattle signaling me to get an adult NOW.  And then they put my unconscious mother in the ICU at Mercy…just like when my aunt Ka was dying, and they made me visit her there.  Nope, sorry mom.  I love you, but I cannot just walk myself into a waking nightmare.  You know that.  You don’t mind. 

So, when I told Sahar what happened, she packed a bag and drove up from Cleveland because she is the best, and she spent two days here trying to keep me busy.  I blocked a lot of Friday, so I don’t know what we did, but I know she was next to me the whole time.  And on Saturday Beth came by with breakfast, and then Sahar and Mark and I took a drive and went to get groceries.  At night, we went to the bar at the corner and heard my cousin Dom’s band play, which was a good time.  (Funny sidebar: so Dad calls me while I’m there and I can tell he’s in the car and he says “WHERE ARE YOU” and I panic, assuming the worst.  I tell him I’m at the bar, and then he says “oh ok, be right there.”  Man just needed a drink.)

Sahar didn’t leave until 2am, when I was tipsy and tired.  I woke up feeling surprisingly not terrible considering the previous night’s drinks, something I have all but given up since living that gastroparesis life.  Mark and I went to the History Museum to se the Cherry Blossom Festival.  It was a nice little walk through a beautiful little park, and then we went to wish my Gram a happy 91st birthday.  Sahar went home to Ohio, and now it is Monday and back to the normal life.

But it isn’t the normal life, because Momma isn’t here in it at the moment.  The doctors are positive.  Her brain scans came back normal, and she has been moving around a bit, but there is no real change.  They just tell us to wait, as through I am not the most impatient person on the planet.

But I will wait.  And I will hope and pray and wish and wonder, and soon my Momma will wake up and read this and say “Jesus, Brigid…did you have to tell them everything?”

Alright.  I’m off to call my therapist again.  Have a…Monday.  Just…have a Monday.

This is one of my Momma’s favorite songs.

Open Heart and Open Eyes

I’m hopped up on anesthesia.  Not now, as I write this, but now, as you are reading it on Monday morning, when I am scheduling it to be posted.  I figured I would save myself some grief and just get Monday’s post out of the way now, on Saturday morning, while my husband and kids still slumber. 

So anyway, if you’re not family or friend, you probably didn’t know that my mother had a quadruple bypass on Tuesday. 

She found out a few weeks back that she had had a couple of small heart attacks, and this was alarming, so they scheduled a procedure called a cabbage.  At least, I think that’s how it’s spelled, because it’s certainly how it sounds.  Anyway, I guess once they got in there, there was more work to be done, so she got the whole she-bang. 

The day of surgery was intense.  First of all, I had a follow-up for my cataract surgery from the previous day, so while mom was under the knife, I was sitting in the ophthalmologist chair hoping my sistter wasn’t crying in the car because Dad called with terrible news or something. But no, when I came out she was there and no news was still good news, so we went on with our day.  It wasn’t until about 130pm that Dad called and told me that she was okay.  Surgery was over, and she was still asleep.  Later, he told me that she woke up around 5pm and they took out the ventilator. 

On Wednesday, I got to see her for a few minutes after work, and she was sitting up in a chair.  She was on oxygen, which was a good thing because she wasn’t breathing as well without it, and was able to talk much more.  Visiting hours ended early because Covid, so I was only there for a little bit.  On Thursday I went for lunch which was chaos at the hospital.  Visiting hours start EXACTLY at noon, not one second before, so there was a line out the door of folks waiting to see their loved ones.  When I finally got through the screening, I got upstairs and found her and she was delighted I was there.  I was delighted they took out her chest tubes.  I got to hang out for a bit before work, but she kept falling asleep on me mid-sentence, so I just let her rest until the TV or some nurse woke her again, and we’d go on talking like nothing happened.  Then a nurse came in with some medication that Mom was really excited about, because it would make it easier for her to breathe.  That night, Dad said she was doing even better.

Yesterday I was crazy busy, so she called me to say hello at night and that she was sad.  See, she wanted to talk to her sister, my deceased aunt, and was sad she couldn’t.  I told her it was ok, because Ka wasn’t available last night anyway.  She was at my poetry reading, listening to me read the one I wrote about her.  Mom liked that idea.  She then told me she might come home today, which is wonderful.  Alas, I am still going to visit her at noon…well, perhaps a little after, given how many people were in that line.

So, overall, she is doing well.  I am happy.  All is good. 

Edit: It is Monday.  I am not hopped up on anesthesia, because I took this last surgery like a champ and am in a fan-freakin-tastic mood because I CAN SEE ALL THE THINGS.

Furthermore, I never went to visit my mom at the hospital again, because she came home that afternoon!  She’s sore and a little woozy still, and the coughing sucks, but she is a trooper and is doing pretty good.  So today…a good mood overall.  Happy Monday, indeed.

Pajama Party

Last week I wrote about a lovely memory I have of my father.  Now I will write about my mother.

When I was a child, maybe 3rd or 4th grade, I had my first sleepover party.  It was a Valentine’s Day tea party, and my mother pulled out all the stops.  Heart shaped doily’s, pink and red streamers, the whole shebang.  I invited five friends to stay over, and we were up talking until 3am when my mother came downstairs and yelled at us to go to sleep.  I fell in love with sleepover parties that day, and asked her for several more as I got older.

Every party had a theme.  One year it was mid-January, so my mother made the theme “Winter Blues” and hung paper raindrops and snowflakes from the ceiling.  Another year was a pool party with a cake shaped like our pool complete with gummi rings for life preservers.  But the pinnacle of sleepover parties was the Murder-Mystery one.

My friend Jill and I got the idea one afternoon while drawing in her basement.  We had found some old manilla file folders, and we were making portraits of crazy people/monsters.  I was obsessed with murder mysteries when I was younger-my favorite movies were Clue and Murder by Death, and I loved Agatha Christie.  Jill said the pictures we were drawing reminded her of portraits you would find hanging in a creepy mansion somewhere.  “Have you ever been to a murder mystery party?  They’d be good for that,” she said.  And an idea was born. 

We took it to my mother, who was all about it.  She told me I could have five friends sleepover, but after Jill and I wrote the script we realized we needed at least 8 people.  So, we invited a couple extra girls to play the murder victims.  Once killed, the girls went home. 

Looking back, I regret this.  I wish I could have had them sleepover, too.  I feel terrible that I was essentially like “Come to my party, but then leave when I tell you to.”  But we were 12 years old and stupid, and thought it all made perfect sense at the time.

There were costumes, made by my mother and Jill, who was very into fashion.  (Side note:  she is now a seamstress, which surprises me not at all.)  Mom was a wealthy dowager, Jill was the maid, and I played the role of hostess.  My mother had no problem at all following script and playing along with us, and was as much a part of the party as any of my friends.  That night, after the mystery was solved (the maid did it,) we played truth or dare until the sun came up.  Then mom made pancakes, and my friends left, and mom and I cleaned up the mess.

That was my last big sleepover party. 

This past weekend my cousin G, who is ten, was with us.  She came for a sleepover on Valentine’s Day and ended up staying all weekend.  I lamented to Hubs that I was not my mother, and thus had no games or treats or decorations or costumes, and he was sympathetic but I don’t really think he understands because he is a boy, and all his sleepovers consisted of eating pizza and playing video games.

In the end, it didn’t matter.  I didn’t have to do a thing and G still had a great time, begging me to stay for just one more day.  When I dropped her off yesterday, she was sad.  It was kind of cute, and made me feel like I’m not quite the crap hostess I envision myself to be.  I’m never going to throw a party like my mother, but I’m glad of that.  The memories of the parties she threw for me, and the knowledge of how much time, energy, and money went into them, is something I cherish.  She gave me these amazing parties to carry with me, and instilled in me the love of a sleepover.  I still love sleepovers.  Just had one with Sahar in November.  Jaime and I used to have them all the time.  We should plan one.  I don’t care if I’m pushing 40, I am always down for a slumber party.

Mommas

Sunday is Mother’s Day.  This weekend we have the kiddos, and then when they go home I’m having dinner with my mother, ergo the likelihood of me posting this weekend is slim, so here it is today:

I am not a mother.  I made the conscious choice to not be a mother.  Were I to one day become pregnant and end up being a mother, that would be fine and we would deal, but as of now, I am not a mother.

I am a step-mother.  I became one in 2016, though I felt like one years before that.  Recently M turned 13, and I thought back to the day I met him.  He was five years old and explained to me the difference between Transformers and Decepticons.  L was four, and I fed him a hot dog for lunch and taught him a secret handshake.  E was two and very shy but watched my every move with those beaming brown eyes of hers while clutching a rubber duck that she eventually placed in my lap.  K was only one and screamed and cried until Mark laid her on the bed and I sang her Too Ra Loo Ra, and she fell asleep, and I fell in love with them, before I’d even fallen for Mark.

Now they are the lights of my life.  M and L are becoming such amazing young men, and the girls are bright and beautiful and talented.  When they are with us, we create this cohesive family that I miss when they’re not around.  I love them fiercely, and until they came into my life I didn’t realize a love like that existed, save maybe for what I feel for my sister.  Which brings me to…

I’m also a Godmother.  I became such at thirteen when Bernie was born.  Technically I wasn’t old enough so I had to be called a “witness,” which I thought was just plain stupid.  Then at twenty I did it again when Beth had D baptized.  Obviously, I loved those kids.  My sister needs no explanation-I lived beside her young self for years.  D was like a daughter to me in some ways when she was young, and Beth was just starting out as single mom.  We would dream together about her future.  Now I look at her and see exactly what I hope the youth of today is.  Not those tide pod eating idiots but real, down to earth, conscious and awake kids who have talent and drive and passion.  I see this in both Bernie and D and I see it in so much of todays youth that it gives me hope.

So, while my “mothers” have prefixes, I still have found places to give that love to.  Likely because I was taught to love, and that is because of the most important mother, my mother, Maureen.

I will not go on and on about my mom because to explain the amount of love she has given me would take years.  It also leaves me speechless.  How can one put into words a love so huge that it knows no depth?  That Is what my mother feels for me.  I like to think that it is akin to what I feel for my kiddos, but I know it’s not.  I know their mother loves them like mine loves me and Bernie, and that is somehow so much more.

I’m okay with not being a mother.  I like my privacy and alone time too much.  Kids kind of squash that out.  I don’t know if I could make the sacrifices that I have seen other mothers make.   Although, maybe I could.  I have seen some women downright rally the moment they found out they were pregnant, driven by an instinctual need to protect the fetus.  Maybe it’s some superpower women have that lies dormant until we’re pregnant, maybe it’s animal instinct.  Either way, the mothers I know are fierce warriors for their children, and I am proud to have made their acquaintances.  So, Happy Mother’s Day, to them, to you, to all of us.

Me and Momma, sometime in the 80s.4973_106984949904_7087846_n