Spring is a Good Time to Go

I had planned on a Sunday post filled with flowers…. Here we are Monday.  Spring means life even if it also brings death. And in this case, my mother-in-law, Jean, aged 85 and almost two months, passed away just before midnight on Saturday – another COVID casualty.  I guess it was fitting for her to die on a Saturday; she did like to go to Church on Saturdays.  She went four-five times per week but loved the Saturday service best. Makes one wonder just why she needed it so much. I have my theories but I shall keep them to myself.

Mother’s Day 2015, first one without Mick

We had a strange relationship, Jean and I. She was not an easy woman to deal with. In one breath I was the best wife, mother, cook; and in the next, I was the bitch who had her locked up.  If she only knew it was me who pushed her son to go get her, to return her calls, to keep her updated on us.  Or that I did what I could to have her be able to stay in her apartment, even if just for a while.  Neither here nor there, now, is it?

She was not a loving mother to her only son during his childhood, though I think deep down she did love him, in her way – it was just a really tough kind of love.  Neither one of them forgave the other completely for past pains.  And they both had plenty.

She did love her grandchildren, even if she could never get them straight.  Austin was the easy one to remember because he died.  And she focused on death.  All. The. Time.  Conversations were always of the genre:  “Clara (or insert any name) died. Cancer/heart attack/insert malady.”  “Who’s Clara? (again, insert name never heard till now)”  “A friend.”  “So sorry to hear that.”

We only saw her once or twice per year; three, on special occasions.  Mother’s Day and Christmas Brunch, Mick would drive the 45 minutes to pick her up, bring her to our place or the restaurant, and, after the event, do the same trek.  We’d offer to take her out once and again and she always refused, preferring to come to our place.  Despite my being the “best cook and baker”, she didn’t enjoy food.

Her relationship with Mick was very complicated.  Mick had shared with me his version of his history and I tried to get her talk about hers. She didn’t divulge very much but got very defensive.  I came to the conclusion that both were pigheaded in their refusal to accept their part!  Still, when we take the time to see, she did the best she could with what she had and she was alone to do it.  And, when push came to shove, Mick was there for her (and then I was) and she was there for him (and for me after he died).  Even if it was by duty.

Mother’s Day brunch 2010

She was pretty pleased to be the mother of the groom.  This was definitely one of her happy and proud days.  Mick insisted on treating her to a shopping spree, make-up and hairstyling as she was not one to splurge on herself. At all. So it took some doing and a threat or two on his part for her to acquiesce.

September 14, 2002

It is hard to say how I feel as I wasn’t truly in a position to create a close relationship with Jean.  Her son kept her at arm’s length and I had to respect him.  He had his reasons, after all.  After Mick died, I kept up the annual pilgrimage to pick her up and bring her over for Mother’s Day until her fall in July 2017.  At that time, it was discovered she was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and would not be abe to return to her home.  I spent a lot of time going back and forth doing what I know Mick would have done no matter how much he bitched about it. Because deep down, we do care.

Mother’s Day 2014 – last one with Mick

So my visits with Jean, with or without the boys, were every few months.  With each visit, it took longer for her to remember who I was and always asked why Mick wasn’t with me. To which I would reply because he was “working” – what would be the point of making her cry about her son’s death when in five minutes she would ask me again how he was and why wasn’t he there? And, of course, she never, ever, stopped asking to go home. The staff at Lev Tov said she asked every single day.  Drove them nuts with it.  She was a proud woman who had always taken care of herself and loathed her lack of independence.  She was not a happy woman but those in her circle loved her and thought her such a nice lady.

After a hair-styling at the residence

I hope she has finally found peace, wherever she is.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Me – A Prompt

Karen Craven, over at Table for 1 really loves to send us (Sorryless and me) some crazy things to work with.  Now she’s been a tad busy with her new job and all and is not posting nearly enough – yes, I am complaining – though she did finally share  a few lately.  Anyhow, she overheard this woman on the train the other day and this was part of the one-sided conversation she heard:

“Yes, I really like my box of macaroni.
Give me all my expired things.
I need you to get a job.”

And issued us a challenge to use this.  So, being just the right amount of crazy, we accepted.  Here’s my submission.  Sorryless’ fantabulously wonderful answer to the prompt is here.  Karen’s wonderfully fantabulous submission is here

 

There’s Nothing Wrong With Me

It was a regular Friday commute as folks boarded the 6:02 train towards home.  People jostled, trying to find seats or at least a pole to hang on to while others, as I, just leaned against the back doors or sides.  Books were taken out as well as iPods and cell phones, earbuds firmly in place.  A wall erected by those wanting to remain in their own world, not interested in their surroundings, not inviting exchanges.  I, on the other hand, love to people watch, see what they are reading, guess at what is going on in their lives, create whole scenarios in my mind based on what they are reading.

The students take out their books and papers to try to catch up on homework, business-folk break out the laptops and furiously crunch numbers because the days of doing work at work are over; you are now expected to work on your own time as well to get ahead.  A sad state of affairs, really. Everyone absorbed in their own microcosm.

Suddenly, a cellphone rings with an old-fashioned rotary phone ring.  “Dring, Dring!”  I look around to see who it belongs to and find myself eavesdropping, barely subtly, in fact.  The woman is seated in the single seat facing me, is in her late seventies, maybe early eighties.  She’s slight, her clothes hang on her frail body, two sizes too large and look like they’ve been rescued from a garbage bin.  Her stockings have runs in them and her shoes are laced up and seem the only thing she owns that doesn’t date back twenty years.  Her hands are those of a woman who has worked hard; they are overly large for her wrists with knobby knuckles and jagged nails that haven’t ever seen a manicure. Not that she would ever waste money on such a thing.  Between her legs are a trio of bags, filled with who knows what.  Her purse rests on her lap.

She digs into her purse and pulls out an old Blackberry.  “Hallo? …  “Oh hi, Doris. … Yeah, I’m on the train now.  Should be home by seven-ish.”

“What do you mean, you’re at my house? Why are you at my house?  Who let you in?”

“Right  I forgot you had the key.  Still, I don’t care, nothing is yours to touch.  Those are my things.  I don’t care what the neighbours say.  What smell?  I don’t need you to clean out my stuff.”

“Yes, I know I have lots of cans of beans and boxes of macaroni. They were on special.  And yes, I do need them all.  Yes, I really like my box of macaroni.”

What do you mean I don’t even like the stuff?  Of course I do!  What do you care, anyway?  It’s none of your business.  And no, they don’t go bad.  Don’t you dare throw any of them out. You wait until I get there.  And stay out of my fridge!”

The older woman closed her eyes, a mixture confusion and frustration lining her face.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was really at hand.  There was a feeling that this was not the first time this type of exchange had taken place.

“Just give me all my expired things…they’re still good. Expiration dates are a bunch of hogwash,” she almost whispered.

Voice raised:  “No, it’s not true.  Best Before does not mean no good after!” … “What, three years old?  It’s friggen boxed macaroni, Doris!  How bad can dried macaroni with powdered fluorescent cheese get?  The expiry date is obligatory by the government.  Just stop, already.  Don’t even think of throwing anything out.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear and held it on her purse.  I could hear her daughter’s voice raised in anger, “You are confused, Mother.  I’m worried about you living on you own.  You need to leave your apartment and move into a home for the elderly. I have already found the perfect place for you.  Mother?  Mother?  Can you hear me?”

I couldn’t help but feel for the poor woman and, at the same time, for the daughter.  Experience had taught me that early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s meant there were very lucid moments but also very confused ones.  I imagined the old woman had become a hoarder of sorts and the daughter had a helluva job ahead of her.

The woman put the phone back to her ear.  “Yes, I hear you. No, I don’t need to move into a home.  I visit people there, I don’t live there!  There is nothing wrong with me!  I need you to get a job.  You obviously have too much time on your hands to find  yourself rummaging through my personal belongings.  Get out of my house!”

She threw her phone into her handbag, rearranged the ones at her feet, patted her hair in that comforting manner women do, and placed her now trembling hands upon her purse.  She stared straight ahead, a mutinous expression on her face.

We arrived at the next station and a large bulk of people disembark.  The seat kitty-corner to the old woman becomes free so I make my way there.

“Good evening, Ma’am.  Mind if I sit here?”

She smiled, “Oh hallo.  No, no, please do.  Do you need more room?  Are my bags in your way?”

“No, not at all and thank you.  I’m fine and have lots of room.  How are you?  Are you okay?”

“Why yes, I’m fine.  There is nothing wrong with me.  Why do you ask?”

“You seemed a tad upset with your phone call just now.  I didn’t mean to eavesdrop…”

She looked at me with confusion, “What phone call?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imprisoned – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday, my readers.  It is Wednesday-Friday, otherwise known as Friday Fictioneers time and I have done something I don’t usually do (okay, never do!)… This little snippet of a story is the continuation of my FF from two weeks ago.   Should you wish to read (re-read?) that one first, it is here.  I know series are mostly frowned upon in this hear group but as this just happened yesterday,  I’m feeling a tad discombobulated and needed to get it out.  Thank you for your patience!

Thank you, as always, to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for keeping us all in line weekly and this week, thank you to J.Hardy Carroll for this week’s pic.

To play along, add your link by clicking on the blue frog.  Not sure what the rules and regs are?  Click on Rochelle’s name above to get ’em!

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Genre:  Not even close to fiction

Word count:  a difficult 100 words

Imprisoned

Three months hospitalised, only five days back home.  An ambulance was called with police in case of resistance.

“Resistance?” I yelled at the social worker, “she’s an 82-year old frail woman; how hard can it be to lead her to an ambulance?  And why wasn’t I notified first?”

“I’m sorry, she wouldn’t let me in to help.  I saw her black eye and she’s dehydrated and malnourished.  I had no choice.”

“I’m sorry, Mother.  We tried it your way.  You knew the rules.”

“So I’m to be imprisoned for the rest of my life?”

“Don’t look at it that way….”

You Call This an Act of Love? – Friday Fictioneers

Good Thursday evening, my lovely readers.  Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Fictioneers.  Our fabulous hostess Rochelle Wisoff-Fields has chosen FFF (Fellow Friday Fictioneer) Kelvin M. Night‘s wonderfully whimsical photo.  So many possibilities.   Let’s just say I’ve had a rough two weeks.  This story is not fiction and I’m not the daughter, I’m the daughter-in-law.  We did win our court hearing yesterday and my mother-in-law has one chance to prove she can live on her own with medical help… Fingers crossed she accepts the help!

Next week, I bring smiles, I promise!

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You Call This an Act of Love?

The old woman sitting in the wheelchair glared at the younger woman seated in front of her.

“How could you do this to me?  I’m fine.  There is nothing wrong with me! I just want to go home.  They’re keeping me here against my will!”

“We all just want you safe.  You’ve started forgetting some things and you’re not too stable on your feet.  We don’t want you to come to any harm.  A safe environment is what you need.”

“I want to be in my own home.  You call this an act of love?”

“Yes, I really do, Mother.”