Yesterday was mom’s birthday – she turned 84. Eighty-three was not the best year – it was a very pivotal year in her life. It was the year that the reality of mortality reared its ugly head. Last year at this time, I would have never dreamed that this is where we would be this year for her birthday.
I’m sitting on my deck writing this right now. We have a new deck and our yard finally got landscaped and I am sitting here wishing that she was at the table with me enjoying this beautiful back yard and this beautiful time of year. She loved sitting out in the back yard with me. Of course, this is where she used to smoke as well, as she did not believe in smoking in her house or anyone’s elses house for that matter. In Florida, she would walk around her pool and smoke. Here she would take an old pepsi can and use it for an ashtray and try to find a place at the table where the wind would not blow the smoke in my face. Quite often we had to switch places.
She would sit out here and watch the birds. She was especially enamored by the Canada Geese that fly over our house every morning and evening in large v-like formations. The fly very low and they squawk as they fly – she just loved that. But today, all I could do was call her on the phone and describe what the new deck was like and describe what the yard looked like. I wanted her to be here with me.
But at least she had a good birthday. For years we thought (and so did mom) that her birthday was on September 22. We used to have this thing – my birthday was May 22 and my brother’s birthday was May 26 and mom’s birthday was September 22 and my dad’s was September 26. I’m not sure how we discovered this, and it was just discovered recently, but we found out that mom’s birth certificate was written out in error. The story was that my mom was delivered by a midwife and supposedly she was drunk and she wrote down the wrong date on the birth certificate. So, it is really September 23. Leave it to mom to have two birthdays – she loves getting presents.
Last week, I wrote about her early birthday dinner. This week, she wanted an ice-cream cake for her birthday – so I got her this huge one that she could enjoy as well as share with the nurses. She was like a little kid. As a matter of fact, it is really interesting to see the role reversal. You should have seen me cleaning her up after she ate her cake – she had frosting and ice-cream all over herself and her blanket. As I was cleaning it up, I was thinking how ironic it was that I was being the mom.
This morning when I called she was not feeling well. She said her ankle was hurting (remember she is holding fluid in the lower portion of her body). When I spoke to her I told her to call the nurse and ask for a pain pill. She sometimes seems to forget that she can ask for pain medication regardless of where it hurts. Later on I called her and she sounded fine – but she definitely is sleeping a lot more and she tires very easily.
The nurses told me that they just love her. She is so pleasant, and really for most of the time she is. She could have chosen to be angry about what has happened and to be negative, but she is just the opposite. She is very positive and upbeat most of the time – and I really do believe that her positive attitude is what is keeping her alive. The nurses even told me that when she first came in that they did not think she would live very long – but she is certainly proving us all wrong – and I am so glad for that.
So, another year. I’m not sure what 84 going on 85 will bring – but I hope it brings the greatest quality of life possible and no pain. And I hope it brings a good attitude and joy. Happy Birthday mom. I love you very much.