Part three: An ambulance takes Mom back home to Eriksdale. I sit beside her all the way home.
Reader's review: Omg, the tears are falling as I read your heartfelt story, Leanne.
photo by ldyck
During the day visitors come and go as if through a revolving door. Mom is pleased to see them all. To inquires of, "How are you?" Mom quickly replies, "Fine. And how are you?" She is genuinely interested. Through comments and follow-up questions, she makes it know that she doesn't want to talk about herself; she wants to remain plugged into the world around her.
The visits are brief but still draining. I try to control her social interactions, behind her back. If she discovers that I delayed a visit by a day or even a few hours, I know she will be upset. Between visits, the morphine overtakes her and she sleeps.
The phone rings and even though it's in the next room, I rush to it--willing the sound not to wake her.
Byron's silky voice wraps around me. I cuddle with him on the chesterfield.
"Beth phoned," he tells me and that changes the mood.
Immediately, I begin to think I've lost my job. She's sick and tired of waiting for me to get back and has hired someone to replace me. Or maybe she's just threatening to if I don't go back immediately. But my place is here with Mom.
"Did she sound annoyed?"
"What? No. She was just checking on you. She told me to tell you not to worry; everything at the daycare is fine. They're missing you, but fine. And she wanted me to reassure you that your job will be waiting for you when you get back."
A nurse whispers in the night, "Your mom needs you."
Groggy, I reach for the edge of the blanket, try to climb out of the pull-out bed but bang my knee on the arm of the chesterfield. I stumble, half-blind, bare feet on the cold tile, to Mom's bed.
"Oh, hello, dear." She sounds puzzled by my appearance.
The nurse wheels the last of the machinery past me, out the door, and down the corridor.
"Mom, it's Leanne."
"Leanne. Of course, I knew that."
"Would you like me to sit with you for a while?"
"Yes, that would be nice." She smiles.
Words full of anger, thunder from the mouth of another patient down the hall and explode around us.
"I'm going to go tell the nurses. We don't need to listen to that."
"Leanne, be kind, she doesn't know where she is."
I close the bedroom door but that doesn't prevent the words from attacking us.
I can't just sit here and listen to it.
"I've decided to drop out of university, quit my job, and move out of Coquitlam." The plan is being formulated as I speak. "At least that's what I want to do. I haven't told Byron, yet. But..."
All I want to do is hide--dig a deep hole and jump in.
"What will do, Honey Bunny?"
Huh, that's a question. Grasping for something, I say, "Open a store."
I've never operated a cash register and I can't add in my head. So why not.
"That's a wonderful idea." Mom has always supported my dreams. "What kind of store?"
"A bookstore." I have dyslexia but I've always loved books. So why not.
We continue to plan my future until a yawn burst through her lips.
I arrange the blankets--holding her in a cozy nest.
"Don't leave. Not yet."
"Would you like me to pray?" Praying out loud for someone else--especially mom, especially now--how can I do that? But by the way she looks I know I have to try.
"Dear God, thank you for this time for Mom and me to be together. Thank you for the dedicated doctors and nurses that offer such compassionate care. Thank you for the family and friends who support us. Now as we prepare for sleep, please hold us in the palm of Your hand." I knew I'd forgotten something and quickly add, "Amen." I look over and Mom is asleep.