The Goddess Speaks
Daughter cherishes aging mom
My mother, the eldest of 10 children, has outlived her parents, one brother, four sisters, her husband and three sons. She turned 92 on March 2. We are all wondering, Will she make it to 100?
When I took her to lunch, I asked how she accounted for her longevity.
"I just keep waking up in the morning," she answered, shrugging her shoulders. "Same old routine."
She hopes to die peacefully in her sleep without pain or suffering. Unfortunately, she is very forgetful, unable to remember what she had for lunch, much less where she ate it. She also tends to repeat the same question over and over again.
"Is this a club? Do you have to be a member?" she asked me.
"No, Mom," I said. "This is the Willows restaurant. You've been here a million times."
A minute later: "Is this a club? Do you have to be a member?"
Recently, my sister Lucille made plans to travel from her home in Virginia to spend a month with Mom in Honolulu. Mom called me a week beforehand. She said my daughter Lisa had asked that her friend from the mainland be allowed to stay at Mom's house for a month.
"As much as I want to accommodate Lisa's friend," Mom told me, "I cannot because Lucille will be here."
After checking with Lisa, I had to gently inform Mom that Lisa doesn't have any friends on the mainland and never made that request.
When Lucille arrived, she asked Mom, "Do you know who I am?"
"You look familiar," Mom replied.
"What's my name?"
"You don't know your name?" Mom said. "I can't help you if you don't know your own name!"
Later, we all went to lunch at our favorite restaurant. After the appetizer and entree, we barely had room for dessert.
"Mom," said Lucille, "do you want to share the dessert with me?"
"Get your own," Mom answered, perusing the menu.
Although she has memory lapses, Mom does show moments of clarity, and it is the kind of repartee described above that we find hilarious.
Mom lives with my sister Nedra, who is her caregiver, but her desire to socialize has never changed. She enjoys attending parties and being with people.
I invited her over for Christmas along with my children and in-laws, and although she seemed slightly more forgetful than at Easter, Mom happily attended. She forgot the kim chee but remembered to pick oranges from her yard and bring them.
I know that someday in the not-too-distant future, Mom will no longer be able to hold a conversation with me. She will fade away forever. But fear not. I believe in the afterlife, and I know that eventually my spirit will happily reunite with my mother's. I couldn't wish for a better outcome.
Glenda Chung Hinchey is a Honolulu-based writer who recently published the book "Look for Me in Hawaii: A Third Memoir."
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