Saturday, September 03, 2011


This photo is not now. She's not in the hospital; actually she spent tonight eating homemade pizza with me and 29 other residents at the rest home where she lives.

But I think this photo says so much about my Mother. She had fallen and broken her arm when this was taken, the call reached me as I pulled into my friend Mim's driveway saying that she had likely had a stroke, that she might die. I was 90 minutes away and my partner JB rushed from work to be with her in the emergency room. And there she was, smiling, asking a hundred times what happened, hearing a hundred times that she fainted, forgetting the answer a hundred times and just smiling her happy smile.

I have come to respect my Mother in ways that astonish me. "I don't complain, do I?" she asks me. When I tell her no, you don't Mom, she says, "Good, because I don't think I have anything to complain about."

She is 95 and a half years old and can't remember what happened two minutes ago. "I don't give a damn!" she says. "I still have my mind." And she does. In the present moment, my Mother is lucid and sharp and competent. I don't worry about her. She doesn't worry either.

My Mother somehow has ended up in an old fashioned rest home ten minutes from me, in her own private room with a bathroom across the hall, with a staff that quietly sets out her clothes each morning and brings her ginger ale and a cookie after dinner so they can subtly help her ready for bed, with home cooking that all thirty residents rave about, and so do JB and I when we show up for Thanksgiving dinner and have turkey and all the fixings and baked stuffed shrimp and fresh apple pie with our coffee.

There is no question that my Mother lucked out when one vacant room next to the little kitchen became available three years ago. And there is no question that my Mother deserves every good moment. There are frequent deaths in this rest home. The residents are old, or their bodies are weary, and statistically the death rate is high. It is unnerving and in that sense it is good that my Mother does not remember, with a few lovely exceptions, who's who.

But I can finally say I hope my Mother will be lucky enough to die there. In her bed. Maybe even with that look of contentment that perfectly matches her green eyes.

There is one more part of my love affair with my Mother you might be interested in. She and I did not talk to one another for almost nine years. It still surprises me to say that is ancient history. I remind her of that only rarely and she grins at me: "I must have been wrong. Who could stay mad at a daughter like you?"




  1. Your mom is an amazing lady. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Loved reading this! What a great Mom you have and she is lucky she has you!

  3. Oh KJ. To have your mom say "I must have been wrong." This touches my heart so. You are a wonderful daughter and JB a wonderful daughter in law.

    You know my Mom showed me, (my mom always talked to me, but often to tell me how my life might be led better) in her last years that what really matters is to love our loved ones. That our gripes and disgruntles and silences and so on dont matter in the long run. That's just ego. What matters is love.

    Love this photo of her too, smiling in a hospital bed! I am so glad she is safe and happy in the nursing home.

  4. You and your mom are VERY fortunate.

  5. Your mom's smile just sends me. I mean, look at that smile. So much love there, kj, and contentment, too.
    You know I know all about the two minute loops, and I have to say your mom has such grace. Next time you see her, give her a kiss from me. xox Pam

  6. I'm so happy to hear she's only ten minutes away from you, kj. What a lovely photo of her. And isn't it great to hear how she said who could stay mad at you...I'm so glad she said that!

    Mothers can be difficult, my mom certainly was, yet during her last years, I grew to know her so much better...and learned to accept who she was. I truly miss her now and wish I could talk with her. I'm glad you still have your lovely mom! xx

  7. Oh, your Mom!!! She is a beautiful lady - still. And the interaction between the two of you is so wonderful to see! When I witnessed it last year, it was one of the warmest moments between Mum and Daughter I have ever seen.

    Every Mum/Daughter has those moments of's natural....but what counts is where you are both are now.... and that's TOGETHER, full of love for each other.

    She loves you and JB....and vice-versa... and the home she is in is GORGEOUS and uplifting. It is not is full of LIFE.

    I am so glad she is close by.... I remember the drive perfectly...

    Please give her a hug and kiss from me!!!

    And one for you too!



    ♥ Cupcake ♥

  8. Wondeful story of a wonderful Mom,your a "Rich"daughter.....


  9. oh kj, this was a good thing to do. your mom would be tickled i bet. if she knew we were admiring her sweet smile. and her sweet daughter. this was a good thing to do.

  10. Oh, that I should have the temperament of your mother if I ever reach her age. She looks so HAPPY, and maybe that is the secret---living right in the present moment. While she may not have a choice, it's something for the rest of us to consider.
    And how fortunate to find a GOOD care facility in these days. A blessing, period.


  11. Oh my your mom is just a lady full of wisdom!
    No wonder you are like that!
    What a nice story to read!
    First I thought Oh no..... something is wrong with your Mom.....but happily this is just a story.
    I have been angry with my parents for 6 months . This seemed like ages . But sometimes this is necessary to set things right again.
    I remember this event how good JB filled in for you. How great the last time you met nothing went wrong.
    I hope your Mom lives to be over a hundred!


  12. I love your mom, she is a wonder and she is always smiling, we could learn a lot from her. xoxo

  13. You are a very good daughter!!

  14. "I must have been wrong".
    That almost made me cry.
    (and I don't do that easily.)

    May we all be gracious as she, and say it when we need to.
    She's just precious,,,,

  15. I remember reading somewhere (I can't cite the source, as I've forgotten it) that it is impossible for a young mind to fathom out the meaning of old age. At 25, on the brink of starting my career once more from scratch, I couldn't sleep thinking that things were tough... and then, I read this post. I saw your mother's warm smile, the life in her eyes, the fantastic contagious optimism that has stayed with her for all these years, and I suddenly feel so foolish. It's true that I can't imagine what living till 95 is like, because I was feeling overwhelmed at this trifling age - and that's when I was greeted by this smiling, happy image of a dear old lady, happy and content even after the many, many trials that must have come across her way (forgive me if I take too many creative liberties, but I am something of a writer and my mind just wanders that way), and her smile, the twinkle in her eyes, they made me smile too.

    Arnab Majumdar on

  16. i love your mom and I've never met her but still love her.

    Gad - 9 years - I just can't imagine it

  17. Awww. What a wonderful place you have her in. And how great that she is so very content. And she;s also right about you. ♥

  18. thank you rob-bear.

    caroline, i've learned sometimes the hard way that there is nothing more important than loving relationships ♥

    suki, long before my mom said 'i must have been wrong,' when she was still quite independent, was 'i had a dream i MIGHT be wrong. what's the least i can do?"
    i look back and laugh at that one, suki. your comment reminds me that to forgive we must simply forget xoxo

    yes, mark, indeed. ♥

    i know you know pam. we have membership in the same club. we do our best. we hold on to love. you are an amazing woman, daughter, mother, friend pam.

    marion, time heals all wounds, what a trite and true statement. that said, i'm almost in favor of moving on and forgetting toxic people! ♥

  19. thank you so much, robin. i am very glad you met my Mother. that meant alot to me. besides the loving, the witnessing is its own form of reverence. xoxo

    marja, thank you for such a sweet comment. the best part is i know enough to appreciate. xoxo

    awww, snow, your comment almost brought me to tears. she really is sweet. thank you. xoxo

    lori, i could read this to her, and the comments, and she would give me this perplexed curious look. "tell me again," she would say, "what is this again?" :^)
    p.s. ♥

    anne, you are very wise. this is what i tell my Mother, that people would kill to be able to live firmly in the present! she gives me that perplexed curious look i just told lori about! xoxo


    "But sometimes this is necessary to set things right again." how true this is. thank you for KNOWING me, dear friend. that means alot. ♥

    thank you annie. i agree: she is the most gracious teacher. xoxo

    kawther, thank you very much xo

  20. babs, i know.....thanks for getting this, as you always do. ♥

    arnab, your 'creative liberties' are only very good writing conveying very appreciated and wise feelings. thank you very much. i am glad you visit my blog. you are a young man learning so much, i am glad with all that you share. ♥

    i'd like you to meet her, mim :^)

    cs, you give me a high compliment. it does not go unnoticed. xoxoxo

  21. I love reading about mothers and daughters. Heck...I watched the entire series of The Gilmore Girls three times. I just want to know what it feels like I have a mother. I'm still not sure, but it wasn't this. I just think I missed it. I try to recreate it in many ways I'll not go into, but I do believe I just missed that boat. Your mother looks so friendly. To admit one is wrong is so important.

  22. ww, what a legitimate longing. a psychic told me i had to rescue my own little girl (stuck in a well) and i tell my clients the a similiar version of the same thing. but how true that to be chosen first and to be loved unconditionally and with great sacrifice is like no other kind of love. ♥