Friday, July 25, 2008

~My Mother's Smile~

My mother doesn’t smile much anymore. At 88 years-of-age, she’s had severe chronic neck pain for 6+ years now. Riddled with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, even the slightest movement is agony. After trying everything imaginable, the doctors finally inserted a pain pump. It pumps morphine through her frail body 24/7. But the pain continues. If they medicate her too much, she gets dizzy and falls. After two broken hips, upping the dosage is not an option. So she lives with it. She has no other choice.

In between studio time, I visit Mom. Getting her to smile is a daunting task. It doesn’t happen often, or easily. After my visit yesterday I realized that there are four sure things that will make her smile: Wendy’s Chocolate Frosties, fluffy white clouds against a blue blue sky, her great-grandchildren, and her brother Joe.

The Frostie is the easy part. After making a pit-stop at Wendy's on my way to the assisted living home where she lives, I wheel her out into the courtyard where we sit in the sun, enjoying the flowers, the birds…..and the blue blue sky! Smiling from ear-to-ear, looking up between mouthfuls of cold chocolate ice-cream she says, “Have you EVER seen anything so beautiful?”. Every day she says the same thing, as if she’s seeing that sky for the very first time.

Her great-grandchildren live out of town, but after their visits, she goes on and on for days, talking about Ella's eyes and Jackson's smile.

And my Uncle Joe…..he’s almost 80, doesn’t look or act his age, has a twinkle in his blue blue eyes, and goes to see his sister on all the days that I can’t…..and all the days that I can! He calls me as soon as he leaves her with his, “Mom Report”. He always says, “You workin’ hard, or hardly workin’?”! I just love him! Mom adores him. Born in Italy, mom was the oldest of the five siblings, and the only girl. Joe was the baby. She babied him as he grew up. Now, the roles have reversed. He babies her!

Visiting is not always easy. Oftentimes I sit in the car for quite a while before I go in, praying to God that I will find her in less pain.

There's one thing that makes me get out of my car and go in: I know that by the time our visit is over, and I kiss her good-bye, I’ll have seen her smile. Even if just for a little while.


Nel from Nebraska said...

Your writings are beautiful as your mother's smile. said...

Nellie....You are very sweet to say that. Thank you!

Kathi said...

Your mother must be smiling inwardly, if not outwardly, to have a daughter as loving and creative and attentive as you!

a Pocket Angel said...

Dear Carol Rose,
The tears are streaming down my face as I type this. I can feel the awful sadness you have over your Mother's condition. I'm so sorry to hear about the pain she's in. She's a beautiful lady and she reminds me so much of my Italian Mother. How blessed she is to have such a caring daughter.
What a very painful disease Rheumatoid Arthritis. My 11 year old Grandaughter has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and she's having a major set back right now. It's so upsetting.
Thanks for sharing your lovely Mother with us, she will be in my prayers.
God bless you both!
Hugs & blessings ~Mary~

Mel said...

Oh lucky BOTH of you are to have each other. I love you!

imbeingheldhostage said...

What a beautiful post-- and what a great example your mom is-- to still appreciate the beauty even though she's in so much pain.

Suldog said...

Came over from David McMahon's.

You are a wonderful and compassionate daughter, but you know that, I'm sure. I'm saying a prayer for you both, right now.

Merisi said...

I came over here from David's Authorblog. I agree with Nellie, you told heartwrenching story with great skill and warmth. I wish you and your mother many moments of joy together, may your see her smile often!

Woman in a Window said...

Painful and beautiful. Sometimes I wonder about life's lessons. So glad you and your uncle Joe go and see her so often. It's not easy, but so this is life.

Yes, and what imbeingheldhostage said, about your mom's ability to still see the beauty.