Friday, March 30, 2007

The Loss of a World

I spent some time with my Mom tonight. She is disappearing. Or, it might be more correct to say that her world is disappearing. I suppose when it comes down to it, they are both the same thing.
Here are some examples from our conversation.

Mom: Help me out. Where am I now?
Me: You are at Havenwood Mom.
Mom: Really. oh. What city?
Me: Concord. You are in Concord.
Mom: (completely astonished) Really!?! Really?!? Ohhh. I thought I was in
some other state somewhere way off. I'm in Concord? (pause) That makes me feel better. (pause) Where in Concord?
Me: In Havenwood.
Mom: I know that. Where is it though?

Me: On the Heights near Loudon Road?
Mom: Where?
Me: Near East Side Drive.
Mom: Ohhhhhh. Good. Okay. How did I get here?
Me: You turn off Loudon road by the Pizza Hut and Burger King.
Mom: Ohhhhh. Okay. I can't picture how I got in this building though. All I
really remember is this room. And how to get to dinner.
Me: I know.

And so it would go. At various times I would recount the brothers and which one of us have been to visit when recently. On my last visit, after counting off who had been to visit, she said, "Then there is David. He hasn't been here for ages." It took her about 10 seconds to realize that I was sitting in front of her.
I could list off several other examples of how her world is shrinking, both in time and space. For all this, she seems relatively good humored about it. Frustrated certainly, but lately more bewildered, wondering where it all went, not sure why it's happening. She is aware that there is a bigger world, and that she once dwelt in it. Aware that the world she inhabits now is severely circumscribed, shrunk, falling inward upon itself daily. She is unaware of which parts are falling away, and how rapidly.
I sit with her and we talk in loops. When reminded of something, someone, someplace, sometime, she often is able to recall it - for a short while. A few minutes later we loop back around to it again.
I sit with her, and I long will this go on. I think of the woman who hugged me when I got stung by wasps, who told me to go out and play, who fed me for years. I think of the woman who was frustrated to tears when I would not clean up my room, and who cried when I left the house at 18. I think of her reading to me, and teaching me to read, and watching me play, and I watch her now. She is the same person, and she is much changed. She is certainly all of herself and much less at the same time. I'm not sure what to make of it.
I'm not sure what to make of it.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

I want my body to go before my mind.

Ron Jung said...

Our bodies continue to see decay. Death awaits all. And although it has been undone in Christ, Death is still the enemy. Defeated yes, but not done with. I hate death for what it does. I hate that even at 40 I can feel the perishing of my body. I hate that I have had to bury seven in the last four months. I have one who called me this morning to talk about her own funeral, she wants to have her "house in order."

It's been a long Lent. I can't wait for Easter.