“You cant jump the tracks, we're like cars on a cable and Life's like an hourglass glued to the table. No one can find the rewind button girl, so cradle your head in your hands…and breathe”.
These words, sung by Anna Nalik, have run through my mind frequently in the last few weeks. Sitting here watching my Mama P weaken more each day, just makes these words hit home! Each of us have only a short time here on earth, and we never know when the end of that time will be.
As she sleeps, I sometimes just watch her. It's just happened so fast….only a little over a year since her first diagnosis. Who would have known at that time, how little time remained?! I wish I would have made better use of that time…..Again, those lyrics ring in my head, reminding me that there is no rewind button.
Several times, I've laid next to her, wrapping my arms around her frail body…..she always hugs me back and manages to say “I love you”. Many times this week, my tears have slowly dripped down, and soaked her arm….the arm that doesnt let go of me. Memories flood my mind. Memories of the last year, memories of the moments shared in the short time before her diagnosis, memories of my childhood….all memories that seem like just yesterday. How did this happen and where did the time go? I don't want to let her go!
In the short time I've been here with my mama in her own home, I've observed amazing things. She is confused most of the time, but still seems to sense what everyone else needs.
I brought my babies with me to see their grandma this time. We arrived very early….dark still. My kids had been alerted to her state, and were sent in one at a time to love on grandma, as to not overwhelm her. She hardly spoke a word upon seeing them, but the smile on her face was big enough to prove that she knew what was happening. One by one they got up on her bed, and as each one nestled to her, she would cradle them in her arms and stroke their heads.
At one point she demanded a hair brush from me. When I handed it to her, she immediately started brushing my youngest daughters ratty hair…. A job she would have always been willing to do before.. This small gesture spoke volumes to me.
On some occasions, she allows me to get her in her wheelchair. She sometimes stares off, appearing to be looking at nothing, and sometimes, she smiles and seems to connect with something around her. I love to watch her every time she does this…. I love her!
She's not really eating or drinking. I wonder how long her body can remain upright, but it is clear that there must be more she has to accomplish. A couple of days ago, I watched her eyes come alive, when two people entered her home from her past….people that she had had a falling out with years ago. They hadn't seen her since before her initial diagnosis, and I'm sure it was shocking.
I was amazed at this mother of mine, when I watched her arms reach out to them with tears in her eyes. She said to them clearly “I'm sorry for everything”! It was more emotion and clarity than I have seen in weeks from her. It was apparent to me that this moment needed to happen…. I wonder how many more moments she is waiting for, and feel blessed to have been a witness to them.
In this short time, she has mended so many relationships in our family. It is as though this is what she's supposed to do. She has made sure that everyone of us will be cared for when she leaves. Every day, I become more amazed by this woman….Even with her growing confusion, she is teaching lessons.
Yesterday, Renee and the kids headed home, while I am staying behind for a little longer. Each of my kids said goodbye, but my oldest daughter had a hard time leaving her bedside. When I went to find her, she was standing next to her grandma with tears in her eyes, just rubbing her arms with gentle strokes, as she slept. I stood next to her as she said goodbye. Again, my mama opened her eyes with clarity, to hug my daughter tightly and purposely… It made my heart break in two all over again….for them both.
Now, its a quiet house…almost too quiet. There's more time for reflection I guess. I lay beside her when she is in and out of sleep, and I let her rest when she is soundly sleeping. I watch her chest rise and fall. I appreciate the squeeze of her hand, and her warm body curled next to me.
Today….I thank God for each moment he gives me with her.