I just got a phone call, from some machine, somewhere, trying to leave me an automated message, trying to sell me something. ugh
As I walked back to the kitchen to put the phone away, I was overcome with the desire to call my Mother and have a real conversation. To chit-chat on the phone and talk about everyday things. I wanted to talk with my Mom. What a stab in the heart that was. How many years has it been since we've really talked together? Six? Seven? I don't know.
This is horrible.
I have had to "be with her where she is" for so long.
At first it was her being withdrawn, her self isolation, her quiet questioning appraisal at what was going on, trying to figure out how to cope and not slip up. Then it was her repeating and repeating her stories. Then it was her anger at everything because nothing was right.
In 2006 I painted Mom's kitchen: the walls, the woodwork, the inside and outside of the cabinets. Then I stenciled blueberries around the top of the wall. It took six times around the kitchen, two different stencils and three different colors of paint. Up and down ladders, balancing over the range and sink. This project took all summer.
As I look back on this time of painting and being with my Mom, I can now see the start of her detachment, the quizzical looks she would give me. Like she was someone who had never seen anyone ice skate, and was watching me do it for the first time. She was the one who taught me how to paint and how to stencil. But that summer, she stood back and watched me do it with curiosity and doubt.