Today was a great day. It was a beautiful, sunny, unseasonably warm day. The sky burned a beautiful, almost terrifying blue.
It is a calm time. My mother is in a rehabilitation facility, trying to get some strength back. I don't know that she'll ever walk without the aid of walker again. I still don't know how she went from being on her own to being completely immobilized in the space of a week but I guess that's cancer or chemo or something for you.
Whenever I visit my mother during the week, the case manager and the social worker appear to tell me my mother might be released any day to do insurance issues. But today was Sunday so there was none of that. I have a minor plan for when she is released but I have yet to even talk to any of the players. It's hard to tell exactly how much care Mom will need when she gets out because her progress is different every day. What I do know is that home health aids aren't covered by her insurance so once she gets out, whatever she needs will require a big burst of cash.
Today she was calm, responsive, rested, happy. She is feeling stronger and the overwhelming sadness she faced when the doctor decided to suspend any treatment, probably for good, fell to the background. We spoke of the girls, their new bunk beds, the cute guy at work that I now have a crush on, C and his new young girlfriend. She sat up the entire time I was there, a first for this month of October.
She asked if I could put the leg rests on her wheelchair and wheel her around. The old me, the me of only a few weeks ago really, wouldn't have tried. But I staired at the leg rests and the pegs on the sides of the chairs and I figured it out. And off we went, on a beautiful day, down the hall, into the elevator, and out the automatic doors to a beautiful day.
Trees surrounded us with the view of a manicured U shaped lawn and several flag posts. I didn't know how to put the break on the wheelchair and fearing accidentally releasing my mother into the parking lot, I sat beside her, holding the handles of the wheelchair. I could hear the traffic from Route 38, just on the other side of the trees. As a teenager, I often walked down the street this facility was on on my way to football games. I think it was mostly undeveloped land, maybe a few historic houses that had been leveled to make way for this facility for the old, the sick, the newly rehabilitated. I pointed to the trees in various directions, telling where the bank was, the eye doctor center that was once a florist. We once lived not far from this facility, in a house she and I shared with my brother, a home from another lifetime ago.
She was happy and so was I. I will remember this simple moment for the rest of my life.
Once inside, I steered her back into her room with a good view of her TV. I had to go, time to grocery shop and return to my world with my girls, my world outside the prison she now faces, this prison of poor health. I am so lucky to have this time with my mother. I am grateful for every day, every moment, every time I have ever been able to call her and have her pick up the other end.
I don't know how scary the road ahead of us is but I have today. I will always have it. I will always love her, maybe more than anyone. Maybe even more than my own daughters. She has always been the only person who was ever really and truly mine.