Sunday, February 9, 2014
That guitar became mine when I was about 12 years old. It was beginning to rot. Mom never played it.
Feb. 27 is her 86th birthday. She has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home near my brother in Indiana. Our relationship was mostly phone calls after I moved to Seattle, Washington in 1982.
That relationship worked best for both of us. You may not understand that, many do not, but she and I did. We remained very close.
It is shocking to me that she has lived so long. Her diet was awful, never exercised, and smoked from age 17 to her late 60s. (We often fought about her smoking. She tried so many fad ways out, finally ONE visit to a hypnotist and she never smoked again. ***Here is the sad part: She told me the hypnotist had her think of not being able to see her grandchildren grow up, nor hold her great-grandchildren. Thanks to a bitter divorce, she no longer got to see her grandchildren and never held her great-grandchildren. I hope one day they all realize what they lost.)
Now my partner's parents swam, did yoga, ate healthy---my mom will soon outlive their death age.
Mom has by far outlived her own parent's age. Genes? Yes, but whose? My own life expectancy with MS is 78 years. Anyway, I have been thinking about her a lot lately. She and I could never have dreamed we would both be in a nursing-type facility at the same time.
As I have previously posted, I am packing, down-sizing, to prepare for my move to a new assisted living home. My mom wrote weekly letters to me, and I to her, over 20 years worth, so I must get rid of quite a few. In one she asks me again if I would like her ring. "I planned to give it to Elizabeth, but I never see her anymore." (Her first granddaughter---we both wanted her birth so much...)
That got me to wondering what exactly happened to her ring. She was so proud when she bought it, feeling a bit odd buying her own ring, but egged on by our "JUST DO IT!" Aunt Vi. It had a black stone and small diamonds, silver...I just wasn't into jewelry. Going through her letters, I wished I'd taken it.
When Mom was moved swiftly (as these things often happen) from the hospital to her current facility, my brother was left to clear out her small apartment. He phoned and asked if she had anything I wanted. I said, "no."
Last night I came across Mom's ring in an old beat-up box.
It fits me perfectly. When I wear it, I see my mother's hand, I flash back to that teenager raring to move away from home; to that mother finally resolved to the fact her romance days were behind her, any ring put on her finger would be by her own doing. Sad, happy times, Mom's last child ready to leave her.
When did she send it to me? Why did she part with it?
Now it is mine. I feel as though Mom reached out to her daughter who fears her best days might be behind her. The ring speaks to me, "Not yet. Not yet."