Mom, After Dad-iptd-651

Self-Improvement My dad passed away March 11, 2008 six days shy of his 73rd birthday. His body wasted away in the final year, his mind gradually retracting from the things he loved. This was a vibrant LARGER THAN LIFE man who was succumbing to the affects of a lifetime of smoking, the lung cancer wrapping like tentacles around his breathing organs, spine and brain. Through this all labored my step-mom, caring for him the best she could as his journey began to veer away from hers, the door to their 40 year union closing. A union starring her alcoholic, abusive, angry husband in the role of dictator-t’was not a picnic growing up in that house. My home was the stage for daily fights, beatings, and yelling. The man didn’t want her to live her life, dogging her when she tried to learn the guitar, have a job, wear nice clothes, or have friends. Stay in that box I put you in was the directive, and that fiery, intelligent, go-getting woman did. She stayed through his hell-with-the-world-isms, through his brilliance, through his genius, [because he was all that] through his purgatory, through his crash and burn anger charring EVERYTHING in its wake, through his infectious laugh and magnetic charm, through his lighting fast wit; Ma played her role as the dutiful wife and partner for two thirds of her life, dulling her dreams and aspirations in deferment to his. Once beautiful and smooth of skin, scowls replaced smiles as she formed a bitter brittle shell in which to exist. If living with daddy wasn’t stress enough, add to the mix the many years I blamed her for much in my upbringing. We were mortal enemies for 20+ years, each wielding hexes of anger, misunderstanding, & high handed judgments. Eventually growing weary of our battle, we made way to each other with much patience, honesty, empathy and .passion-I think we surprised ourselves with the great friendship that has grown out of the ashes. [This was well before we knew daddy was ailing]. When I finally saw her I gasped inwardly, very dark circles were under her eyes and the robust Native American tresses gave way to large bald spots. The once foxy body had thickened with the weight of the Unhappy while her fluid speech pattern had be.e halting, [not quite a stutter but close] the rush of words stampeding over each other, making you gasp for air as you hunkered down for the onslaught. The razor-sharp tongue that could cut your head off was now cutting itself. As daddy’s illness set deeper, Ma’s energy was draining as she took care of him. I tried to prepare her for what I knew was .ing by issuing lectures on preparedness and how she needed to give thought to re-entering the work-force. She needed to acquaint herself with technology, particularly the .puter. So one day I marched over there armed with an old laptop ready to give lessons. But she wasn’t feelin’ it. So it sat packed up for a year. She was scared to touch it. One day, I’m over at my folks’ & asked Ma, NOT dad [’cause I knew what he’d say] if she wanted an answering machine. She hesitated, which gave my dad enough time to bark "WE do not want an answering machine! If someone calls and we don’t pick up, I don’t want to know who calls anyway. If they really want to talk to us, they’ll call back! Now remember, I asked HER, not him. By this point, he was sleeping most of the day and night so what was it to him? But since this was another stitch in the fabric of their relationship, I as part of that fabric annoyingly acquiesced to his directive to save her any harassment after I left. But not long after his passing, I again bring up the idea but could barely get the question out of my mouth before "YES!!" leaped from hers. When I unveiled her introduction to technology I was too tickled to see this stern woman’s child-like glee when the machine lit up. And oh man, when it talked? HEAVEN. She couldn’t WAIT to tell me she got her first message! Today I am so very proud of her. She dove into the deepest depths of despair, grief, loneliness and fear. "What am I going to do?" she implored of the heavens, "I am a 67 year old woman with no skills, and very little work history. I am close to destitute [daddy left nothing] and my life has passed me by. I feel like my mental capacity is at a deficit, oh how I have wasted my life, my best years are gone!" In the early days and months, not a phone conversation or visit went by without her breaking down into sobs. I tried to remind her that the invincible, foxy, self-assured woman I remember meeting all those years ago was still there and that she just needed to reach out to that gal inside. It became my mantra to her. Then, into all that darkness, an angel came to her in the guise of a social worker [who wasn’t even assigned to her!] who became her champion, working tirelessly on her behalf, steering her through the tsunami of bloody red tape. She got Ma into a program providing her with a part time job with access to .puter classes and other great opportunities to help get seniors on their feet. Slowly this battered, beat down soul began to shine! Now she’s making new friends, trying new things, is beginning to slim down and lookin’ suave. SHE’S GETTING HER MOJO BACK! Girlfriend participates in Tai Chi and yoga classes at her part time gig. She’s working on her typing on that old laptop-she wanted to know how much a new one cost! It is so good to see her smiling and laughing as she figures out what SHE likes. Ma is beginning to enjoy her life. I’ve heard that people generally stop learning and/or trying new things once they hit their 30’s. Not my mom, she’s reaching out with everything she’s got, trying new food and oh my goodness, I got her a cell phone! Oh boy. "Ma, you have to remember to take it with you," "Ma, you have to remember to turn it on," "Ma, you have to put it where you can HEAR it!" "Ma, Ma, MA…" Teaching her to text? OH GEES! That was pretty much a futile endeavor until one day I was in Paris checking my text messages and there was one from her! It said: "got your text, writing this, NOW HOW DO I SEND IT?" Boy I can’t believe she didn’t hear me howling from across the Atlantic. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: