Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tatas and Milk


Two floors below is Labor and Delivery…headquarters for joy and hope and tender beauty. Youth and happiness. New beginnings. One floor below is Oncology…beginnings and farewells. The twain in contest.

Every elevator ride here hosts a load of native humanity. Disease and dotage pay but vague heed to where you went to school and who your daddy was. I just rode up with new friends I’d made in the lobby…two little African American girls dressed as ballerinas. So damned cute. Instant ear-to-ear smile on my face.  I couldn't help but feel joy making its way out of my heavy heart. Their grandma was taking them to see their new little brother. One was all-in…ready to see her baby. Her little-er, cuter sister couldn't have given less of a damn. She had a singular mission. To push every button on the elevator panel and she did. I liked that the elevator became a local. It caused us to take longer to get to our floors and I giggled with the ballerinas. Grandma didn’t.

These critical care nurse angels—they just finished bathing and pampering and moisturizing and swathing my vegetative ventilated mother. She smells good and her skin is pink and soft and healthy looking. And I'm still talking to her as if we were sitting at the kitchen table. And then it feels stupid because even if she might be hearing me, she's unable to respond to any command...any half-hearted "squeeze my hand if..."

And trust me—the fact that all of her adult children are in town, standing beside her bed holding her and talking to her and loving up on her—if she could respond—her eyes would be wide open. And she would tell my little brother that he needs to lose weight and my sister would hear my mama say apologetically that my sis is still pretty...even with the ravages of the lupus that mother passed to daughter. She’d tell me that I look tired and I’d tell her that she’d look tired too if she’d slept the last three nights in a recliner by her ICU bed—anything but lulled by the lock-step never miss a beat cadence hiss-puff of her respirator. And I'd tell her that I'm happy, insistent actually, to be spending night  four in the same spot since she'd spent many a night never leaving my side.

I desperately need some of the life affirming delight that lives elsewhere in this chamber. I'm going two floors down to look at those other guests and welcome them to earth while I  manage the ennui associated with my mom not being able to decide to exit it. I’ll angle for another dose of joy from little ones who are also pink and swathed and bundled and smelling good. Little ones not yet burdened with reconciling the value of remaining in this temporal world while sorting out their readiness to let go of it—the twain in contest. Their motivation and focus is sweet and pure and simple and I envy it. Their twain? 

Tatas and Milk. 

30 comments:

Ian from Downunder said...

Sorry Dustin, I don't have any comforting or original things to say to you other than offer you a big cyber hug from Downunder.
In spite of the well-meaning thoughts of others, there is no good way to pass on. However, your mother is surrounded by those who love her and that is a sure sign of a life well lived. Let your mother's example be a guideing light to you and your family.
I live in Melbourne but you should know I'm right beside you in spirit.
Haven't the foggiest of what else I can say.

heavy tweed jacket said...

ADG, Your words of sitting with your mother as she sat with you so many times were very moving. There are times when just being present with someone is the most powerful thing we can do, even though we may feel pretty powerless. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and your mother. Take good care.

M.Lane said...

I'm thinking of you and your mom all the time. Perhaps it is some comfort that you have a lot of unmet friends out here with you.

ML

Lee said...

As my own mother would say, I'm sending positive thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

I am really sorry. I will pray for you and your mother and the rest of your family.

sue in mexico mo said...

We have nothing in common,(I am a senior woman, with no interest in men's fashion). However, I have followed your blog for a long time.
You are a good son and a good father. I hope that soon your sadness will be replaced with happy memories.

Anonymous said...

Just one of your anonymous, regular readers, who has been in your shoes years ago and knows that it sucks. No matter how old you are, your mother is still your mother, and it hurts like hell to lose her.

My prayers for her and your family.

Andrew Touchstone said...

Wishing you strength and perspective in this time of travail. However, my wishes are superfluous as evidenced by your moving prose about this very personal and difficult topic. Hang in there buddy...Mom knows her stalwart and loving son is there...that is all that matters.

Anonymous said...

Blessings upon you and your Momma, Max.

-Flo

Anonymous said...

Only you could get away with a title like "Tatas and Milk" on such a beautiful tribute to your mother. She must be very special to have raised you. Peace and strength to you and your family.

CeceliaMc said...

I'm sorry. Praying for your mama, and family.

LPC said...

You remain yourself, maybe become even more concentrated yourself. I am sorry for your sorrow to come. But I thank you for telling me how it may play out. I can think of few people I'd rather hear it from.

Hope that Lily is OK.

Pigtown*Design said...

thinking of you and your mother. xo

DocP said...

My thoughts are with you. I went through a similar time with both of my parents about 10 years ago. I believe knowing you did everything you could to ease a loved one's final days makes the grief easier.

Golf Tango Hotel said...

As always, even in what are certainly difficult times, your prose is both eloquent and poignont. Your mama obviously raised a wonderful son, a fine father and a gentleman and it is obvious from past posts how much love there is, which is ultimately all that matters. Please know that you, your mother and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Cro Magnon said...

How many of us really appreciate/d our mothers. We should tell them every day how much we love them.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and your dear mother.
BarbaraG

gentleman mac said...

Prayers of comfort for you, your siblings, and your mama, Max. Prayers of comfort.

Jeff H said...

Very moving words. Thinking of you and your family ADG.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts of strength and hope for your and your mother, as m.lane said, from your "unmet friends".

Silk Regimental said...

Dusty - love is spelled m o t h e r. It's alternate spelling is d e v o t e d. S o n . Praying for you both as I sit in the oncologist waiting room with my love.

Patsy said...

Blessings and prayers to you and your Mother and your family, ADG.

Charlotte said...

Courage, brother and prayers from PA.

Mason said...

You've got a way of distilling the sentiment that would be saccharine if handled differently. Very moving stuff, well-punctuated with humor. My thoughts are with your family.

Kathie Truitt said...

Have you ever read the children's book 'I'll Love You Forever'? If not, then run don't walk to your nearest bookstore.....

Hugs to you, Dusty. We've been 'together' in the blog world a long time. You were one of my first friends. I'm thinking of you and know that I love you and LFG.

Kathie

the quarter rat said...

Take comfort in your family and the reflections of your mother in them (and yourself). I recently walked down the same road, and it's horrible, but bits of joy have a way of shining through during the darkest times. You're a devoted son and father that any mother would be proud to have.

Praying for you and your family.
JAC

Anonymous said...

Another one of your long time, anonymous, readers thinking of you and your family during this very difficult time!
Sarah

Marianne said...

Thinking of you and your family with a tear in my eye.

Go visit the babies. They make everyone feel better,

Marianne

maven said...

I am so sorry to hear this about your beloved mother. Prayers and blessings for you and yours.

ADG said...

Thank you. All of you...for your kindness in words and deeds. I'll have much to say about all of this when there's some kind of conclusion. I just don't know if my blog is the right venue. I may have to start another one.

I am amidst what I believe to be so far in my journey, the most potent and redefining moment of my life.

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