This is my dad, Paul Peter Dolaski, the photo captures him well. He was a kind man, and also a gruff man if you didn’t know the bluster of his conversation. His best times were hunting, fishing, having a few (maybe more) beers and being a husband, he was a good father. He never took a day off work, only a few during deer season. He taught me the ‘outdoors’ how to survive, to love animals (even though he was a hunter). His approach parenting wasn’t thought out like parenting is in today’s world. I appeared and that was that. I learned a great deal from him, and I don’t think it was intentional it just ‘was’.
My blog is many things to me. I can share photos, stories of my family, trips I’ve taken, food I’ve eaten, a recipe or something I’ve created (on occasion I am creative), my gardens, my environment. The list for blogs and their content are as countless as the numbers of people who write them.
Today I’ve decided self-indulgence is my entry. My mother, Audrey Marie Dolaski is dying, maybe today, perhaps tomorrow but very soon. I live in Texas; she lives in Munising, Michigan. She chose to die in her home surrounded by the things she treasures. What she treasures now are the baby squirrels outside her window, the multitude of birds that come to her feeders, Coke and ice cream, she never was a soda drinker but these days, it’s what she can swallow and eating has become painful. She’s always enjoyed ice cream, only in moderate portions (she always watched her weight carefully). She’s never been one to over indulge. Yesterday she described butterscotch with generous portions of the butterscotch veins like it was manna from heaven ☺
These are our conversations, trivial but communication just the same and quality time over distance using the telephone. I must do most of the talking and listen carefully as her once strong voice is weak and she is also slowed a bit by pain medication. She is still as sharp as she ever was, it simply takes her a bit more time to formulate her thoughts and a great deal of effort to express them, as her energy disappears.
Before I make my call I become agitated, wander around my house like a pacing panther, I don’t like to make these calls. Who wants to poke a stick in a wound? I know that I need to keep our communication going until she dies, gotten her wings, or flying shoes.
After the call I have a period of many feelings, always tears because I cry easily (one of my weaknesses), it’s just me, although a dying mother is sad! I feel frustrated, not because she is dying, she is 89, will be 90 if she makes it to the 4th of July and she’s made a good life for herself. We will celebrate her life when the time comes. My problem is I’m not certain I heard what she said, if I answered her question with the right answer because I didn’t hear well, I don’t want her to think I’m not listening to her. I’m still looking for approval (at 65) from a dying woman who I always had a difficult time pleasing and it affects my conversations with her as she dies.
I asked her yesterday if she wanted me to call everyday I didn’t want to disturb her. To me that was a normal question because mom often didn’t like me to bother her, and she was not shy about expressing those feelings. Yesterday her answer was, “yes call everyday, you are my daughter you can’t bother me.” That’s amazing for me to hear, also emotional seeing five years ago her answer may have been that she was busy, call later, maybe the next day!
It’s getting around to the time of the day I call my mother and I feel myself already becoming anxious. This is sad, it’s sad for both of us. I don’t believe she realizes that I feel this way (a good thing) this is something that I need to simply get over, it is what it is, grow up kind of thing! It’s life, it’s been my life and I’ve lived it quite well. Most families have some degree of dysfunction, and mine was not an exception.
My mother deserves my respect, my love, and gratitude, she has it. I can return to the past and speculate about what might have been, but the reality was my life, one doesn’t go backward. None of us come with a set of instructions how to properly parent, we parent by our past observations, our personalities our faults and hope for the best possible future for our children.