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And the flower bloomed

08 Jun

Memorial Day marked one year since I moved my parents in. I have been caring for them for one year now. When I say my parents, I mean them as a unit. This week I had the rare opportunity to care for my mother alone. My stepfather came down with pneumonia and was hospitalized for two days. That was 48 hours of Mami, all alone.
In the meantime, I have been babying 4 flowering plants that my good friend Rick brought me to put some color into my spring. I must say that the plants were questionably healthy. They were dry, but still had some flowers. I threw them on the patio until I could get around to replanting them. A few days later I replanted the babies and began to care for them on a daily basis. I watched over weeks how they began to shrivel up. They were dry, so I moved them to a shady spot. Before long I had to begin cutting away at them, and little by little there was but a single stem on each of the four plants with nothing green growing on them at all. At this point I can’t really do much about it. I would shop for new ones and start again.
While my stepfather was in the hospital I had to watch over my mother. I am her caretaker; I am not the one who is by her side minute by minute. I stay by her side when my stepfather bathes, or when he is in physical therapy, and when he needs to nap. I have to sit with her every minute. If she is left alone she panics because she has no understanding of her surroundings at any given time. Having me or my stepfather next to her ensures her of her existence. She will ask every 5 minutes where my stepdad is. She will ask it as if it were the first time she asked. So I sit and answer her over and over because this is the only grasp she has on reality. This is her security, without one of us she would have nothing to base her life on and confusion would be a constant state of mind for her.
The two days that I had her all to myself would prove that this life, this journey and our experience is ever changing. That expectation affects the outcome. I had a concept of caring for my mother. Actually I have been calling it an equation. I call it the equation because I am always adding, subtracting or multiplying ideas that work or don’t work in keeping my mother at peace as she loses her mind. I will blog about this equation later.
Though trial and error I have learned some things, but with her alone this week I have hurdled over mounds of experience that has really put me ahead of the game. Our first day alone I spent two hours in our drive way, following her around making sure that she didn’t sit in an ant pile that she favors. I do this with her quite a bit, but because of the absence of my step father, it was kicked up a notch. The neighbors must think we are nuts. When I would get in her way and not let her sit in the pile, she would scream obscenities and try to hit me. Whenever she would lift her fist to me I would do something to distract her like I would just start doing jumping jacks or I would go into a Broadway dance routine. It worked. I decided that while she was verbally assaulting me that I would instead look at nature. I would focus on how the trees flowed in the wind rather than resisting. How wonderfully green everything was as we had days of rain. I do this because part of the equation that I came up with tells me that I have to eliminate negativity from my thinking. Instead of dreading a disease that runs in my family I am going to improve my ability to think positive. If I can master 100 percent, and I lose half of my brain function, then I will still have positive connections from which to draw on. Just a theory at this point, but I think I’m on to something here.
The last night that we spent alone together, my mother and I sat on the back patio for the first time in days because of the heavy rains, and we chatted forever. It was nice. I noticed one of the plants had grown green and bloomed. I got up from my seat and walked over to it. I just stared in amazement that it had not only survived, but it produced a soft purple flower. I looked over to my mother and realized that we had bloomed too. We had not only survived a dysfunctional past, a life time of illusions about who we were, but we were surviving this disease that threatened any chance for healing it all.
My mother watched me quietly and finally asked me “What is it?”
“The flower bloomed.” I told her.
“It’s beautiful.” She said with a smile
“So are you.” I said as I looked back.
“I look just like you.” She answered humbly.
“Isn’t life beautiful?” I asked her.
She began to sing:
“La realidad es morir y nacer
Porque llenarnos de tanto illusiones
La vida es un sueno, todo se va”

Translated:
Reality is to die and be born
Why fill ourselves with so many illusions
Life is a dream, everything goes away.”

I was amazed that she knew so many words to the Benny More song. I had my mother for the two days, but in that moment I had the real her. For a moment she was present, really present. This was the blooming of the flower. I shall enjoy it now because it will go away, and then come back again, but who knows when.
Like the flowers that I was caring for, my parents are withering away and you have to ask what the use is, but the blooming flower combined with my mother’s song reminds me that life is a dream and everything goes away, and then comes back. In the meantime, we care for it always.

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1 Comment

Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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One response to “And the flower bloomed

  1. Maria

    July 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    That’s a beautiful moment you and Abuela shared. I love to hear her sing. I see her happiest with music.

     

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