June 28, 2015
Well, Old Joe and I have been up most of the night. It makes him mad when I can’t sleep because he has to follow me around. If I even LOOK like I am going to sit down, he is mid-air on his way to my lap. So, at about 4 am, I called it done. No sense just not sleeping, may as well get up. You may notice that I miss church quite a bit. When I do not sleep, and many times it goes in strings of nights, not just one, the next day I am as dumb as a stick. I get very confused, stumble, and am just kind of worthless that day. I can still pet Joe, which is all he cares about. The rest of it is of no consequence to Joe. Right now he would like me to be typing from the couch. I know better. When I try to work on the computer from the couch he is relentless, bonking my hands with his head and walking on the keyboard. We won’t tell Ben that part because he is still mad over Joe breaking the “F” key. Again, if you don’t read my stuff regularly, you won’t follow some of what I say. Heck, you could read every word and maybe still not follow. I will just hope for the best.
One evening about a month ago I was clearing out my front flower bed. Last year’s honeysuckle had turned into this gnarly monster of vines. They were wrapped around the feeders, the fence, the other plants. So, after dinner I got my gloves on, told Kando she could come if she stayed, knowing she wouldn’t, and headed out. Laura had a few friends over so they were out in the front lawn playing with the biggest blue ball you have ever seen. It was the first evening it had not rained in a very long time and I had my work cut out for me with the weeds. My flowerbeds are my therapy. Really, I probably need about 3 full time therapists, but I have two flowerbeds. I go out after dinner and putz around. I know most flowers. Kind of like the bird thing, very inherited. The girls’ mom, Jenny, came to pick them up and we got to talking in the driveway. She was asking me about the flowers etc. Jenny said she had never done the “flower thing” before and wanted to learn. I told her I learned from my mom and HAD to clear out that old honeysuckle because she would be mortified to claim me as her daughter. I told her a few things and she chose a few plants she wanted “starts” of. Transplanting is really best done in the fall, so we will wait. I felt my mom all around me that night. I got the honeysuckle tamed and began to wrap the new growth around the fence, hoping it would catch on and do that on its’ own. I clipped back the dead sticks from last years’ blooms. I scraped up all of the mushy leaves on the ground surrounding the flowers. My mom always put leaves around as sort of a blanket for the winter.
I remember my Gram working in her garden too. Gram had this great hat. It was a big straw hat with two plastic cherries dangling on the top. I wish I had that hat. Funny the things you remember. My Gram could literally grow anything. Her green thumb was the real deal. If we were at someone’s house and they had a bouquet of flowers on the table, Gram would clip one if she liked it. This is the honest truth here. My Grandma would go home, put a mud ball around the clipped end, put it in the ground, invert a mason jar over the top of it, and the thing would grow. The jar would get steamy on the inside from the sun and nurture the plant. It acted as a little hot house. No joke. I even remember the jars. They had a blue tint and said “Ball” on the side. You don’t much see the blue tint ones now. They are all clear. There is something really great to me about the blue ones and I just figured out why. My Gram would go out into her yard and work in her roses until beads of sweat dripped off her nose. I remember it like it was yesterday. She would come in, her head soaked with sweat, and we would drink pink lemonade from the green pitcher I told you about.
Well, my mom was with me in spirit all evening as I pruned like a barber. I woke up the next day with the familiar yearly soreness, right in the saddlebags. All of the bending and squatting gets me every time. I went to the kitchen to get my coffee. There was this dove literally sitting on my kitchen window ledge about 3 inches from the glass. It would not be a comfortable perch at all. It was staring right at me. I was frozen. Doves mate for life and this doves husband, or wife, was on the wire above my yard. We stared at each other for such a long time. I got goose bumps and a very strange feeling. You may think I am crazy, and you might be right now that I think about that. Once about 10 years ago the same thing happened with a dove. Mate on the wire, dove staring through the bay window that time. Watching me and telling me something. It was the day my dear friends’ dad died. I always felt it was him in some way. I grew up going in and out of their house as much as my own. He made the best green chili in the world. Anyway, there was this dove staring through my kitchen window. What was it trying to tell me, or was it just stupid and liked being there. Who knows? I walked into the other room to do something and came back. There it was, still right there.
The phone rang, breaking the silence. It was my brother, Kevin, calling from Grand Junction. Mom was very sick and in the hospital. Her potassium had taken a dive and her blood pressure was through the roof. She was in bad shape. He made me promise not to get in my car and drive over. I don’t drive much at all. I keep to a 5 mile radius or so. Sometimes my peripheral vision goes double and that really messes me up. I never know when that is going to happen, so I stay close to home. My siblings all boss me around as I am the youngest. Sometimes I swear they think I am a complete idiot. Ben was doing some work in Omaha. I went out to my back flower bed and pulled a few weeds, wondering if that was really “the call.” A few hours later, my sister, Kathleen, called to tell me to pack. Mom was asking for her family. Wow. What??
I called Ben and he got a flight home that evening. I made arrangements for all of my furry children. Laura was busy packing and so brave, as usual. Laura is wise beyond her years. During a crisis she is a rock, like Ben. She is stoic and thoughtful, quiet, yet helpful. Ben. I got all ready pretty fast. Laura had a party that day at the swimming pool and I thought she should go. So, there I sat at my kitchen table. Laura gone, Kando at my friend’s house. I couldn’t cry. I busied myself with cleaning the floors, dusting, laundry. Ben texted that his flight was going to be a little late. I went out back to feed the birds and fill the birdbath. It was thundering and started to rain. The tears came. I don’t know how long I was out there in the rain. Honestly, I didn’t notice it. Ben came out when he got home and held me a long time. We loaded up the car and headed to Grand Junction.
We didn’t arrive in Grand Junction until like 1 am. We checked in and tried to go to sleep. The next morning I got up early and went straight to the hospital. When I looked in on mom, before she saw me, she looked so very tiny. She looked like a frail little bird. I walked over to her bed and took her hand and said, “Hi, Mom.” She could only whisper a little for some reason. She kept asking if this was real. Was I really there, or not. Mom looked bad and wasn’t making any sense. She cried all day. I guess some tweek in her medication caused her sodium to dive and her blood pressure to go up to a zillion or something. She did not have a stroke, but could have. My mom couldn’t walk, talk, feed herself, or much of anything that day. Her eyes looked unfamiliar and sometimes I thought she might not know who I was. We stayed for 5 days and each day Mom got a little better. The hospital said that because her numbers were where they were supposed to be, she needed to check out. We were able to scramble and get home health on board. Mom went back to their apartment with help 24/7.
Since I have been back, Mom seems to be coming around most of the time. She can eat, jokes a bit, and can now walk with her walker. She is still very confused a lot of the time and still cries a lot. I think she is terrified to die. It seems like she is in this strange limbo phase. She is terrified to die, but doesn’t want to be here either. Mom says things like, “What if I don’t WANT to get better? What if I don’t WANT to get stronger?” Some think she does not know what she is saying. I know she is fully aware of those statements. I told her to just love on Dad, be good, and enjoy what she can. We don’t get to choose. She doesn’t get to choose when the end is. Only God does.
I pray for my Mom, and mostly my Dad every day when I work in my flowers. It is a hard prayer. You know, I am not sure what to pray for. So, sometimes I just pray that my flower bed is awesome this year. It is pretty good this year. I also pray for forgiveness for wanting it to smoke out any of my neighbor’s flower beds……just between you and I.
EMNoller copyright 2015