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.
Mary Jo Kuenzer said:
Trudy…this tugs at my heart-strings. I have been thinking of you and your mom so much lately..and trying to remember some of the things of when we were little. One thing I have remembered over the years is how good her chocolate chip cookies were!! It is such a little memory, but a favorite one nonetheless. I don’t think I have ever made a batch of c/c cookies that I didn’t think of her…mine were never as good as Miss Audrey’s!
There are so many things that I would like to talk to you about, but I will save that for another time. Take care and be assured you are all in my prayers.
Love, Mary Jo
Mary Jo mom was cooking until a very short time ago. She never lost her interest and she was an excellent cook! I still use many of her recipes. She’d be pleased to know you still remember her cookies. There were always good things to eat at her house! Hopefully we will be able to talk soon.
Thanks, Trudy, for your insights on parent/child relationships. You hold up a mirror that allows me a painful look. You may have helped me move from a stuck place.
Thank you for reading once more Myra. Parent/child relationships can be difficult and sometimes painful. All the Hallmark cards were not made for me! I needed to find a blank one and do my own writing 🙂 If I helped in any small way, I am pleased!
Trudy, I know how much you put into this post. Thank you for your candor. The parent-child relationship is usually complicated, and there are many things that do and should remain unknown to others, but for which they may judge us without knowing all the facts. I thought my mom and I had a pretty good relationship until she developed cancer and became a little too honest with her feelings about motherhood. Still a painful memory, and one that I find hard to overcome because she’s gone now and we can never undo that hurt.
I’m glad your mom still has things she enjoys and wants to talk with you on a daily basis. It’s healing for both of you. :o)
You got my message Carol! I’m grateful that she does want to talk to me, to someone else that may sound absurd, but they didn’t live my life, know our circumstances. I’m sorry your mom became a bit to honest toward the end. Maybe the illness made her very angry and she lashed out around her, forgetting that’s how she’d be remembered. It’s not popular to be ‘honest’, let people see ‘who’ you are, most would rather not know. For me, writing and sharing (to a degree) is cathartic, and possibly someone else had a similar experience. Life is still good and we live well (I know you and I do 🙂