The Absence of Both Parents

I made sure my mother did not fall down in the bathroom tonight and so I was in there while she went to the bathroom, then made her wash her hands. She has no muscle, only skin and bones. She’s got a deep cough from the flu or something. She’s vacant at times, practically hopeless. She is in a nursing home, so there is nothing I can do more than what is being done except make sure she makes it to the bathroom, which she may not at some point.

I think I mentioned a large bruise on her head and a large bruise on her wrist from about a week ago. I worry that it is going to happen again and she’s going to be lost. And yet, it hasn’t hit me. The prospects are bleak. I went today and saw she hadn’t eaten any baby food from about a week ago when I bought it. She still didn’t know it was there at the side of her bed, but the nurse came in and assured me that she ate about 50% of her food earlier. We’ve made no plans in how to bury her. I am not supposed to bury my mother. She’s my mother for God sake. I showed her pictures of what I did for my sister, plates and napkins, a partial tableclothImage and in a second she asked about my sister and I told her again about what I had done. She still has no lower denture because my sister says taking her to get a new one with her sick as she is and weak is dangerous. Somehow she manages to chew her food. I’ve already lost my dad, nobody deserves to have both parents die. I can understand now how adopted children must feel. Often their parents are living and yet dead to them. My friend Suzanne wrote a note to me and said she wished she could give me a hug. I was doing pretty well until she said this, as if I needed help. Today an ex-girlfriend said, “Are you really that sad?” as she had read half of my book. And a few weeks ago, a friend and I were on a hill watching the fireworks and we talked about psychotherapists and I told her the last one moved to Seattle. It was only to help me find out what I was supposed to do for a living, which I still don’t know. I told her that it really didn’t matter. I think she was hinting that I should see one.

“I don’t take them seriously,” I must have said. I am reading The History of Madness by Foucault and Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (French: L’anti-Oedipe) is a 1972 book by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. I told her I was a self-healer.

Suzanne planted a seed; I started crying even before my mother is gone. I didn’t cry for my father, except of course in the beginning. I filled the tub, sliding around in it before my relatives left. After that I simply smiled when someone asked what my father did. 25 years later, I wept uncontrollable for a half-hour outside Mahler’s 5th concert conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. It was embarrassing. I was with a girlfriend and a best friend, but it seemed so weird. Out-of-nowhere the emotions came. If you have ever heard this Symphony, it goes every which way, and finally dumps you out in the street of your emotions.

I am going to play it for the neighborhood. It is 12AM. The Chicago Symphony. It is loud at the beginning, then I have to turn up the volume.

The silent morning compared

            I am running as people often do. I think of Tom and Nick, people in the past I have let drift. Still the birds chirp rampantly and yesterday I wrote about Louis Menand and listened again to his American Studies essay on The New Yorker.

            It is the beginning of summer and yesterday I promised I would pick up my mother, who is probably lying in bed in her nursing home. Last time I saw her she was pulling at her chin hairs. I pulled them that day and then we, my sister and I, took her to dinner. I think mother stared at the single, small, open-faced chicken taco that she said was too spicy. With both upper and lower dentures, I think the issue was just chewing. She did however eat something chocolate from what I remember, except that I really can’t remember. I base everything on the likelihood of the experience because that’s what we do. Chocolate sauce and chocolate cake, there’s ice cream, coffee, and cokes, which are mother’s cc’s.

            The whole world is quiet, less of course the birds chirping. I have humming birds, the occasional honeybees that have found the humming bird feeder. The mother in the birdhouse is protecting her babies by constantly attacking them.

            What’s a mother to do?

            I know Lani Kim sacrificed herself for her children, but then children grow up to be people with fresh memories and opinions and life wasn’t meant to be The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. She can tell you that it is about doing what you are supposed to be doing because sometimes the love between a man and a woman must take a back seat. Children are much more important, where a mother’s heart can lie dormant for years; she keeps the memory of a true love and wears sadness like a perfect smile that warms every heart.

            No, the past is just decisions made based on something that could not be ignored. Love comes and goes. My therapist said that you can love many people, and she was correct.

            At a point however you take less pause in beauty’s pull. You start to remember too those you loved, but just not sexually, who were good mates. You were always jealous of those who had such even keeled relationships. Because, at least for you, you always waited for the dramatic beginnings and where the obvious good forces in being with someone who was good for you wasn’t appealing until now. Second thoughts, at nearly 53, are to imagine how many great years you could have had if you’d only kept Laine Page, for example. You and she were always together reading books and talking about them. No, that was true love.

            But then there’s none of that now, only someone else’s babies and the silent morning compared.