Wednesday, October 18, 2006
These are two sketches of my mother. One done at the age of 18, the other at 82. She is still the same person, but different too. Inside we all feel the same as we did when we were younger. Its usually our bodies or minds that seem to skip a beat now and then or betray us in other ways.
I spent an afternoon ferrying my mother to specialist appointments, realizing how old she has become and even through her determination to be alone and independent, she is undergoing the ravages of time that are robbing her of all the things that she wants most from life. I felt like the observer in the doctor's examination room and a little remote from the proceedings. I imagined my mother as the young woman she once was and wondered if in her mind, she felt some of the discomfort that I felt on her behalf for not seeing, hearing or walking well or for having to take 10 prescriptions for a variety of age related and life abuse related illnesses.
My mother is independent but also needs support in some ways too. In new experiences she is a child and needs cajoling and treats to make the experience work without either of us losing patience. I feel like the parent with her, not the child. It is a strange feeling. I go through the motions but it never sits well with me. She seems to accept it however.
So tomorrow I must take more time off work to take her back to the specialist. Her short term memory is failing and she sometimes doesn't remember that I've taken her or the address of the doctors as it is new to her. She also doesn't realize that it is often difficult for me to stop work and spend 3 hours at doctors and the detritus that goes with a visit. But I will do it and play catch up later. It is what the 'sandwich generation' seems to do.