Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Who We Were is Not Who We Will Be

I'm not sure I have a handle on this thing called...Life.

My mother is 73 going on 93. She has been miserable and unhappy her entire life. Yet now, she sits quietly all day, her mind focused on how she might tackle the simple things...getting upstairs to find her sweater, working the hot water dispenser for her instant oatmeal, shutting the screen door completely after she walks outside.

Here is what I don't understand:

Her health has deteriorated.
Her hair is gray and sticks out from her head, all dry and wild.
Her front teeth protrude out of her mouth because she is gaunt and wicked thin.
She bleeds relentlessly and has dozens of bandages on her body at any one time.

Yet despite all of this, she is strangely...accepting. Resigned. More tolerant than I have ever witnessed. And part of me wants to stand, arms waving in the air, screaming at her..."Get mad! Yell at something! Follow me through the house telling me what to do! Be indignant! Be impatient! Get back to Who You Are!"

But she doesn't do it. She hasn't got the Hootspah. She has just enough energy to whisper to herself, mumbling..."Everything is OK. I have to take my medicine now. I've lasted this long. I'm OK."

And the God-Awful Truth is that she is somehow better off now...than she has ever been before.