My mother turned 81 years old this year. Her health is declining and she rarely leaves the house. She has her faithful companion, Bindi, an Australian-Border Collie mix, to keep her company. She feels isolated much of the time, shut out from the rest of the world, with only her visitors and the TV to fill her in on what is happening outside her domain.
My mom’s health began to decline after my father died three years ago. She went into a deep depression and told me that she had nothing left to live for. Though we assured her that she did, she just hasn’t quite gotten over the fact that her partner of almost 50 years is gone.
Eighty-one years is a long time and my mother has filled a very colorful life. She grew up during the depression and still tells stories of the family not having enough to eat and how her dad hunted squirrel and rabbit, which they ate without even thinking twice about it.
She remembers the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, how the newsboy shouted on the corner downtown about it.
She remembers when my dad had his accident in 1967, and almost died, and how they struggled to raise nine children.
She remembers losing a son, how it felt to get that phone call. And she remembers how after every tragedy, she picked up the pieces, put them back together again, and moved on.
And she is doing that now.
My mom is nearing the end of her life and is trying to accept it. With her limited mobility, it must be excruciating to ask others for help, especially when she has always been the glue that has kept our family together.
My mother has taken care of everyone else her whole life, and now it’s time for her to be taken care of, but she can’t stand it. Her independent nature is apparent as she struggles to carry on her everyday life.
My mother has been through so much and I’ve asked her before how she ever got through it. Her answer to me? “I just did, I had no choice.”
The thing that stands out most to me about my mother is the strength that she possessed when her world was falling apart around her. Her perseverance to maintain order in a world of chaos amazes me. And so does she.
Happy Mother’s day, Mom. You have no idea how many lives you have touched throughout your life. And know that when you didn’t think I was watching or listening, I was. And I still am.