I’m still in Las Vegas for my monthly visit to my adult children, grandchildren and very elderly mother. I was dreading the “Elmo Live” show, but as my 4 year old grandson said, “Gran, it wasn’t really about Elmo. It was about a flower looking for a place to grow.” The boys enjoyed the show and my older son, Jonathan, and I enjoyed the boys watching the show. It had really cheap production values, by the way, but I wasn’t writing a review for the Los Angeles Times.
Elmo is not what I’m pondering about today. I’m immersed in the emotion of two visits to my mother, 97, in bed most of the day and waiting, and not very patiently, to have it over with finally. “You’re brave to come here,” she said to me on Saturday. She was very surprised to see me although I had been there the day before and we had a nice visit. But I sensed depression was about to run rampant.
My mother was concerned about two things: she never knows what time it is, and even when told the time, she always thinks it is night; and she threw up the night before and was disgusted with herself. “I want the whole thing over,” she said with finality.
But the “whole thing” isn’t over and may not be for quite awhile. There is nothing major wrong with her except that she gets confused and disoriented and sometimes there is an angry voice inside of her that comes out in another, older version of my mother when her temper erupted. She also has a leaky heart valve that sometimes goes haywire but she seems to recover, albeit with confusion the next day. My mother kept telling me how awful the situation was and why did I bother to come she her because she didn’t have much to say. We used to be able to share our experiences but no longer. I told her not to worry about that. “I don’t know anything any more,” she said with a face of an angel. I told her knowing a lot was over-rated.
I’m looking at myself when I see my mother. I’m actually visiting my image at an advanced age. It’s frightening and peaceful at the same time. At least I how how my life will end. We always mirrored each other in life, our ambitions, our fortitude our strength and tenacity, and our pragmatism. I will be like her in death, disgusted and wanting to be done with it. “I’ve lived too long,” she always tells me. And sometimes I think we do or we don’t live long enough to reach some kind of transformation. Only the good die young or some such thing.
I walked out of my mother’s home, and not for the last time, stunned, over-flowing with emotion and grief. I cried for the first time in along time over her. I told my mother how I became the woman I am because of her and thanked her for all the gifts she gave me and there were many. And I found our spiritual circle of continuity in that moment and it was stark and clear. It was a finite mind/body/spirit connection. I wanted to shout with joy as I found the opposing force of my energy dissolve into sadness. For that is life, isn’t it? That is womanhood, the anima raging upstream, the goddess within.