I've written about my mom before, I'm sure I'll write about her again. How can I help but write a lot about her? I write a blog that is divided between fiction and my view on the world, how can I leave my mother out? She was part of what shaped my view after all. Either by agreeing with her or disagreeing with her, it all worked to shape the view.
My mom is a force. She has always been the center holding the family together. There are four of us kids left. Two boys and two girls. There were two more girls that died shortly after birth and a boy who died when he was very young. The other kids are closer in age and then 7 years after she thought she was done I came along. My oldest brother says that the parents who raised me were different than the parents who raised him. I believe it. And it makes sense considering how different I turned out from the rest of my siblings.
But now my mom is slowing down. She will be 83 next month. She is currently going through her second round of chemotherapy for one of the two types of cancer she holds in her body. The first time she had chemo it almost killed her and they stopped the cycle before it was finished. When the tumors start to grow again recently they petitioned to try a new treatment out of Russia. It's working really well. The tumors have shrunk, she can breathe clearly again. Most importantly the chemo isn't killing her quicker than the cancer this time. She's a little yellow for a few days after the dose from the dye but she's not exhausted. She's still eating. She's not depressed. It's amazing.
But she's still slowing down. Every time I talk to her on the phone she asks me how George is and I have to tell her again that he died last summer. It's horrible. She's sad each time, and I know a little embarrassed because after I tell her she knows that she should have remembered that, but it's just gone.
Every once in awhile when I get off the phone with her I am a little worried that it will be the last time I talk to her. There are days where the conversations we have are all centered around her being done. Her sister died this past year and Dad went a few years ago. She talks about being the last one. Being alone. I remind her that we are all still here, but she just laughs. And I understand. She means the last of her generation. There is no one for her to have those "remember when" touchstones anymore. She's it. And she's not really bothered by the thought of it being her time soon. As she says, She's in her 80s she can do what she wants to.
It's for the rest of us to worry about now.
Because she doesn't travel anymore we are going back to Albuquerque this summer for a visit. I've told her a couple of times we are coming. Soon I will send the dates to my sister so someone remembers that we will be there. I worry about it being the last trip. We have family pictures from the last trip we took back before my dad died. We have a family picture from the last trip Brent's folks came up here on before Jack died. At the time we had no idea those would be the lasts, but they were. It's odd to look at them now and think, That was the last time we saw him alive. That was it. If we had known would we have done anything differently?
I can't say that we would have.
I won't call my mother for Mother's Day this year. I called her yesterday, she is going to the casino today, you see, and doesn't have time for a phone call...She's in her 80s and does what she wants. But I did call her yesterday, once my sister let me know. And I told her I love her. And when we see her this summer I will tell her I love her. And probably that George died last year. And then tell her again that I love her.
My mother is a force.
She will always be a force.
She's just winding down a little now.