Today was Dad’s birthday. I wonder if they have balloons in Heaven? He would have been 89. He would have caught up to Mom who was 89 in April. Mom was the first to mention it this morning. I sang a lively rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Dad much to Mom’s delight. ( I am know for my serenading people on their birthday with various renditions of “Happy Birthday” including the Hallelujah chorus rendition!)
I have been getting more and more worried about Mom. She looks so sad and dejected. She sits in her chair with her eyes closed or just stares off into space. She is not having good nights, often up with trouble breathing and not feeling well. I have been going to bed myself wondering if she will be awake in the morning.
Tonight was an especially hard time that has catapulted me once again into hyper-vigilance with hyper-anxiety. I asked a simple question I have asked her a million times. ” Is there anything you would like, Mom?” I’m usually referring to some food she might like. This time though her answer took me by surprise. She said, ” I want to go home.” ( home meaning Heaven). My heart quickened in my chest and my stomach felt like I had just been punched. I replied, “I know you do Mom. Although I want you with me forever, I know you want to go home. I can’t be selfish here. It hurts me to see you suffer and be miserable.”
What transpired next was a half-hour conversation where she asked me a number of questions like how much was left to pay on my mortgage, what would I do for income that I would not be getting from her monthly stipend etc etc. I got the feeling she was wanting to know I was going to be alright without her. I assured her I was going to be alright. I had a few close friends, a church family that I felt closer than I ever had before, I was going to be an Aunti to a new little adopted girl who I adored by my best friend’s daughter, I had my brother, my “belle-soeur” ( my sister in law) and my wonderful niece and nephew and my cats. I told her I was trusting in God to look after me and provide all that I needed. ( she does not know I have autism and when I said this I knew I was trusting God for a lot more than what she might think. I was basically going to be alone. I had already a hard time coping in the world. I knew trusting God was going to be key for me to my being able to keep going in this world as someone with autism) I then showed Mom the ring I had bought but had not shown her yet – a silver ring with 2 hearts and an infinity symbol band on the ring – symbolizing mom and me being together forever. She was quite interested although I don’t think she grasped the significance the ring had for me. I am very sentimental and I have many, many things that have special meaning to me. Things in my life are given meaning I think to help ground me and help to keep real the parts of my life which are no longer tangible. Memories are cemented in my mind by a thing that I attach a meaning to. Unfortunately, it means I have a lot of things in my life. Sometimes people don’t understand my attraction to things of all sorts. They help glue all the pieces and memories of my life together.
So back to our conversation… We continued talking for a while and then just sat quietly with each other, the cats joining us in the bedroom. We were all together my little family. All I could think about was what was going to happen? Was Mom going to die tonight? I don’t know. She may surprise everyone and live another several years or she indeed may go tonight. I just know that these episodes put me in such a state of hyper-vigilance for days until I think the danger is over and things resume a calmer state. This wreaks havoc on my whole system. Everything goes haywire – my eating, my sleeping, my ability to concentrate, to look after the house and all the other things I have to tend to. It exhausts my already exhausted frame. I feel shell-shocked. I feel physically sick. I cry. So now as I am writing this I wonder – will I be able to get to sleep tonight? I don’t know but will probably need to sleep part of the night in my easy chair wrapped in a blanket, my knees tucked up under my chin.
Mom’s wish. A simple wish to go home. We all wish to go home when we are away. I can’t deny her that. But Mom’s wish come true means my loss. Am I selfish? Yes, indeed, at times I am. I want her here with me – always! My loss will be overwhelming, immense, unfathomable, almost unthinkable. But my loss will come just the same. There is no control here, no say. Just loss.
As I am typing here, Mom is asleep in her room. I just heard her cry out “Lorne!” That’s Dad’s name. Oh, how she misses him. She needs to go home. I must say goodbye soon. I must loosen the grip I have on her life and let her go. And accept the loss. Wishes are more important than losses. Wishes are often the result of losses. I wonder what wish will come forth from my loss. Tonight ( or in the days ahead) a wish and a loss rest in the heart of God. A God with a heart big enough to make any wish come true and any loss to be cut down to a size that is not overwhelming or unbearable by His great great LOVE.