these days find me in Michigan, suspended in time. Michigan has always been funny to me because, at least in the small, suburban town we lived in, change and growth happen but also they don’t.
So much of it lives frozen.
Back in Idaho (my real home) growth plays out like explosions of development, extravagant new neighborhoods, and a continual flow of new residents migrating to the Gem State. Every visit feels like the first half is devoted to comprehending the changes with the last half being a little dedicated to mourning the loss of farm land and nature.
Michigan isn’t like that.
It is the same gray skies. The same odd people, speckled a bit here and there with genuinely good souls. It is the same restaurants (mostly), same shops, same traffic lights and imbalanced feel. The same.
Within that suspension is my reason for being back–my mom…
My mom is living in her last days. This path began with her unresponsive, the hospice team certain she’d only last a few days. Then, when covid restrictions allowed for (finally) in person visits, it seems the hair brushing, foot massages, and in person reality reached deep inside and pulled her back.
She’s still dying, but that journey has become more than a matter of days, and those days have begun to look like laughter, silly stories, precious memories, and old school karaoke performances. Some days she eats and drinks nothing, other days she downs three glasses of apple juice in a matter of minutes. It’s unpredictable.
On one hand, I want to be by her side as she goes. If she keeps this revival up, that won’t happen, and I’m really sad about that. I don’t want her leaving alone, feeling abandoned, even though I’m not even sure either of those things are where she’d be. On the other hand though, I am DEEPLY loving these moments with her. As her hands and feet ombre into deeper shades of blue, I continue memorizing how they feel in mine. When her Alzheimer eyes find me, recognizing the girl they see, I feel myself hanging there in that lifetime that exists between us.
She was never the perfect mom, but she has been my mom. For better or worse, I’ve never lived a second of this journey without her breathing somewhere, beneath the same moon as me. Even though the last several years have felt like this eternal grief of losing her to a disease ravaging her presence, she was still here. (until covid restrictions anyhow.) But now, now…
I can’t even begin to process it.
And so, while I am sad that it is looking more and more like I won’t be by her side at the end, I am so thankful that I’ve been here collecting these moments.
To be honest, I am also terrified to leave because I want all of the moments.