A good day, and then a bad day. Yesterday Mary spent time with my mother, and when I came home from work she was bright and sharp. When I came home today I found the front door locked and had to rummage for the key to let myself in. My mother was sitting right there. I didn’t lock the door, I don’t know who did. She didn’t say more than ten more words for the rest of the evening. I made dinner and had to call her twice before she came. She wasn’t trying to be obstinate–she seemed overcome by a thick fog. I could see it in her eyes and somewhat slack jaw. She ate well, did the dishes, and then sat with me in the living room. She kept falling asleep, which made me angry. Why can’t she at least try to do something? I felt guilty for my anger when she got up at about 7 and told me she didn’t feel well and was going to bed. She usually makes her rounds before bed–checking lights, locks and windowshades–but she didn’t tonight. That’s a little more telling than it seems. Her nightly ritual is something she must do, even if I assure her that I’ve checked everything already.
So now I’m worried. Is she getting sick? Or is this just a bad day? I don’t know what it’s like anymore to coast, to sail into long stretches of even road. I just know that we will pay for every good day with a bad one or two, that’s the way this works. I should have checked to see if she’d taken her pills last night–I reminded her but that doesn’t always do it. What was my mother like when she took care of me? Am I going to forget all those years? Sometimes I try to remember her–and my father, as well–when they were younger and healthy, when we spent time together and had conversations. Before I started walking on eggshells around my mother’s susceptable temperment, before I put away my dependence on her. How on earth could I not have vivid memories of those times? Memories that I could take some refuge in right now?