Too-Tight Jaws

Jaws, TMJIt all begins with a plaintive complaint.

I don’t know who to send it to – my long-winded grievance – so I find the website of the hospital where my mom is recovering from unexpected surgery. On the long 9-hour ride back home from visiting her, I locate a blank “your concerns” form.

With one succinct sentence (“I am unhappy with the lack of support and communication during my mom’s stay”), the surprise transpires. Continue reading

The Days of Wine and Roses

memories, photo album. 1950s familyI’m on my way to see my mom this weekend, and taking little with me except some old albums.

When I visit her in late summer, she seems so less of what she used to be. Because of dementia, she can’t remember what I told her five minutes earlier, like “your clean clothes are in the drawer” or “dinner is in 45 minutes.”

 Seconds after the conversation, my once bright, quick mom asks: “where are my clean socks?” and then “isn’t it time to walk down to the dining room?” Continue reading

My Mother’s Daughter

Mother's Day, mothers and daughtersGrowing up, I never thought that my mother was a PERSON. She was just this entity called ‘MOM.’

I’m not sure when she became a human being. Probably the first time I found out she was fallible. Sometime in my 20s, after I left university.

mom, Mother's Day, mothers and daughters

Before she was a mom.

Once I began my life as a ‘grown-up’ and she and my dad moved to Oklahoma, of all places, I began to miss her. I was surprised, because we were never particularly close. Continue reading

Searching for the Key

key, keys, searching for the keyI’m about to leave the house at 5:45 a.m. for a long seven-hour drive to Delaware to visit my mom.

I shower and dress and gulp down a quick cup of “wake-me-up” tea quietly so I don’t wake up my sleeping guy. I even tiptoe while hunting for my shoes and lugging my suitcase to the trunk of the car.

My mom is anxiously awaiting me. At 92 and diagnosed with dementia, days and hours and weeks all merge into one long wait for her. I want to get there as soon as possible for the weekend visit.

I walk to the hallway table, the one whose drawer holds all the keys to our life: cars, house, mailbox, and a few that are “mystery keys” (as in, what the heck does this key open?).

I reach for my car keys and stop in horror. Continue reading