Sunday, April 23, 2006
A closer hug goodbye
My husband, Don is visiting his 93 year old mother at her asst. living facility in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Talking on the phone tonight, he recounted the day's events. He's able to stay in one of the upstairs apts when he visits her to make spending time together easier. Today consisted of mundane things - breakfast at her regular table in the dining room, back to her apt to read the paper; a short nap for her. Lunch in the dining room again. Another nap. Later in the day his only brother, who lives in the area, came over for a visit. They spent time chatting, then moved on to more serious topics - living wills, finances, possible visits with grandchildren she hasnt seen in a long time. (This conversation was initiated by her, and makes us wonder if she is aware of time slipping through her fingers. Is she sensing it's time for these conversations?) Another short nap. Dinner in the same dining room, then the two of them went back to her apt. for one last visit squeezed into the day.

He told me that at the end of the evening (8 pm), when she was worn out from these mundane activities, she hugged him goodnight. He said she hugged him more closely, and for longer and there was a different look in her eyes. He said she was very sad (she's always sad as their visit draws to an end), moreso than usual. Looking in her eyes, he could see this different look and it made him sad also. Moreso than usual.

I, on the other hand, spent the weekend with girlfriends celebrating a 50th birthday. We giggled, laughed, ate fattening food, and crammed as much as possible into our 30 hour get-away. One of my girlfriends was looking for her reading glasses, which had been misplaced. She shared with us remembering when her mother-in-law was alive and would often look for her reading glasses. My friend remembered impatience with her, how much time was spent looking for the glasses, and now that she's at that stage in life she wishes she could go back and apologize for the impatience that was never verbally expressed, but felt none-the-less.

My husband sharing "saying goodnight" to his mother reminded me of so many visits, years ago, to Colorado. We'd load the 3 kids up in the minivan and drive 1000 miles each way to spend 8-10 days with his older parents. At the end of the visit I'd be more than ready to get back in the car and drive home. I'd dread him having to tell his mother goodbye - seeing the sadness in her face was difficult and made me feel guilty for being anxious to get back to our life across the country.

Now our 3 grown children and grandchildren live 1200 miles away from us, and we see them every few months at best. As each visit begin to draw to a close I find myself dreading the last day; having to say goodbye to them again. Hugging them closely. Tonight, hearing my husband tell me about "a closer hug goodbye" and a different look, I wish I could apologize to my mother-in-law for impatience that was never verbally expressed, but felt none-the-less.


  posted at 11:50 PM

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