Monday, October 3, 2011


 This picture was taken many years ago. I'm not sure how old Logan was then, maybe nine or ten.  Logan is going to be twenty-four in November and my mom turned eighty-seven this past August.


One year ago Logan and I were getting ready to leave for the airport in several hours, after visiting mom for a couple of days.  I told my mom we would be going back to New York.  Mom seemed totally in the moment when she said “why are you going back”?  I tried to explain to her why, and my mom immediately shared all of her feelings with us.  Something I don’t really remember her ever doing in this way.  

My mom for at least one hour kept repeating how upset she was that we were leaving.  She said she didn’t want to be all alone.  Mom comments were in a forceful way “what will she do all alone”?  She then asks us” why can’t I or we stay “?  She make a  strong statement that she feels lonesome already, and that she’ll just be left all alone, with her television with nothing to do.

Logan had just finished cooking for her his famous omelette that she use to love to eat.  Mom said” I’m too upset I do not want to eat”.  She then asks me where her husband is.  Except for this statement, since my dad had passed away fifteen years ago she seems quite lucid.  Mom then says that when we all leave she will be miserable.  She keeps repeating how lonesome and miserable she will be.   She says she’s real depressed and hates being alone.  In all my years my mom has never, ever said anything like this.  I do not recall her putting any guilt trips on me. This was never part of her personality.  It was breaking my heart as well as Logan’s.  Regardless of all the times I did not get along with my mom she rarely ever tried to make me feel guilty.  She was always thinking of me first with no selfish bone in her body (to me, or as I think of it to anyone else).  Mom eventually lightened up, although it took some time, and Logan and I did not mention our departure again.

We took out cards and started to play the game of war with her, and not until we left hours later, did the strangest thing happen.  I went to say goodbye to my mom in a light way, as if to say I’ll see you later, not like I was getting on a plane and I’ll see you in a few months.  My mom looked at me and said” what is your name”?  In shock I answered, my name is Lisa and my mom replied” that’s funny, my name is Lisa also, yet I call myself Ruth Elian” (which is her name).

As I have felt deep in my heart at other times, that somehow my mom, has her illness pop up to protect herself from the painful hurtful memories.  In this case it was that Logan and I were leaving. As far as my knowledge my mom has never, up to this point forgotten my name.  Is my mom protecting her heart from hurtful things?  Something I may never know.  I  certainly do find this to be pretty profound.

Logan I will be returning to see my mom in 1 ½ weeks. One thing has changed for certain. Whenever I leave from visiting my mom, whether I am alone or with my husband, I simply say (feeling some guilt),”bye mom, I’ll see you later”.  For I know that my mom will not remember what I said ,and I never want to go through the guilt I felt and the heavy heart that she bestowed upon us as we departed.  I do get choked up, because what I really want to do before I leave, is hold my mom and tell her how much I’ll miss her.  Now I just give her a few pecks on her cheek trying to make no big deal about saying goodbye.

1 comment:

  1. My brother made a point a few months ago of going back in the morning to say goodbye to Mom. Her guy friend showed up and he thought that was a good time to leave while she had company. He said bye and left. I got back from my trip and went to visit her and she said Bob had left town without saying goodbye and she was quite angry. She always cries as he leaves. So this last trip he kept telling her that he was leaving in the morning and tonight he had to say goodbye, and she kept wanting him to stay. However, she also kept telling him that he had left town last time without saying goodbye and he kept trying to convince her otherwise, even going so far as to get the guy friend to verify it. It is stuck in her memory that he was staying down the hall and snuck out the next morning. Even though he was at a motel and came by and spent an hour or so with her.

    I think the bye, see you later approach you use is probably better.