Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Introducing Miss Jasmin

Jasmin is my mom’s baby, and now my new roommate. A lovable yet sometimes hoydenish ball of fur.

Mom had wanted a kitten for the longest time, but given the cost of taking care of a pet, with vet bills, food, etc. she just couldn’t afford the expense on her meager income. Then a couple of years ago, after my own ball of fur, Fortunato, passed away I offered to pick up the tab for all the kitty related expenses and to handle the day-to-day kitty litter care and gifted Mom with Jasmin as an early Christmas present.

Jasmin was mom’s choice for a name, and in typical Spanish tradition her full name is much longer, Jasmin Margarita Violeta, but Jasmin or chi-chi is her go to name. When Jasmin lived with mom she gloried in the constant 24-hour attention that only a retired old lady with nothing to do all day can give her cat. As a result of said adoration and an overinflated ego, she was aloof and distant, allowing herself to be petted only on her terms, when she wanted. Now, sadly, times have changed and she’s home alone all day while I’m at work and visiting mom in the afternoon, so when I get home in the evenings she’s a puddle of love at my feet. I guess the saying that you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone holds true for cats too. Nowadays, she throws herself at my feet on the carpet as soon as I walk in, begging to be petted and kissed. She’s still a bit of a rebel and hellion, biting my feet when I get in bed at night or delicately, daintily, and deliberately knocking things off the dresser with her paw. Rebellious behavior aside, she’s very loved, and she always gets an extra kiss at night, which arrives via special delivery from her mom.

Lucidity: A Double-Edged Sword

Mom's moments of true clarity have shrunk as the months since the bleed have passed. They are those rare moments that offer a brief sense of normalcy where she isn't endlessly repeating a word she heard half an hour ago, or speaking jibberish that doesn't make sense. Of course, in her head the words probably all make sense, because there she's using the words she wants to use, and instead the one spouting jibberish is me. Those lucid moments are craved and dreaded at the same time. Dreaded, because a few simple words can so easily break your heart at the full realization of what she's really feeling.

For example, this past weekend we were sitting in the nursing home patio enjoying the afternoon breeze after a very hot day, when she suddenly said "I'm afraid of forgetting", and I asked "forgetting what?", to which she replied "you." As a I spoke through the knot in my throat, I said to her "You'll never forget me, and I'll never forget you, because we love each other so much." She didn't say anything back, she was quiet. Peaceful. So I'll keep craving those moments of clarity for they offer me a window to what's in her heart and mind, and they give me the chance to address her fears in whatever small, inarticulate way I can, and as always, the chance to offer her my love.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Sentiments

We're less than half an hour away from the end of Earth Day (though a friend says that every day is Earth Day), but I wanted to mark the occasion even at this late hour.

I wrote the following last year as a potential submittal for Six Sentences, a very cool blog that puts forth the burning question, "What can you say in six sentences?". Unfortunately, I got a very kind "I'll keep this piece on file for possible inclusion on the site in the future." No luck thus far, so I figured I'd share it with you guys here.

A Mother's Burden
We are the bane of her existence. We, who with grubby hands and greedy mouths have gorged ourselves on the bounties she's laid before us. We, who with careless abandon have littered with our toys and spoils the beautiful home which she has lovingly provided. We, her children, have abused and ignored her with uncaring disregard. Yet, there she stands, resilient and patient, waiting for us, her children, to open our eyes and see the error of our ways before it's too late. Oh, poor Mother Earth, to be burdened with such scurrilous children as us.

Probably not the best thing you've read, but hopefully not the worst. No matter the quality (or lack thereof) of the writing, my hope is that we all take the sentiments behind the words to heart and take better care of the home we've been entrusted with during our fleeting time on this planet.

By the way, if you check out Six Sentences, please read Unholy Baptism by Lucile McKenzie. It's spooktacular! (I know...corny...but you'll see what I mean)

Life Is What Happens to You While You're Making Other Plans

Sorry for the long blogging absence, though I'm pretty sure no one has been waiting with bated breath for my return. As the title would suggest, life has shifted my priorities and blogging about my TV addiction now falls very low on my list. At the end of last year my mom suffered a cranial hemorrhage which brought on vascular dementia and resulted in her need to be in a nursing home for 24/7 care. As you can imagine, its been quite an emotional journey to try to come to terms with the fact that the lively, funny and witty person that was my mom just six months ago is nothing but a memory. Mom and I were, and continue to be, the best of pals. Even before her illness I would see her everyday, but now the daily visits are a little longer because now she really needs me. While I know that she'll be fed, changed and put to bed even if I'm not there each night, I also know my love and attention is a balm for her weary soul. I can see it in the soft smile she gives me as soon as I walk in, and the way she closes her eyes with peace and contentment as I kiss her. So the posts will be few and far between, about who knows what, but I'll do my best.