Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 50

Vigil By Laurie Floyd The thrump of my mother’s heartbeat was likely the first now just a familiar icon. When I arrived mid-June and told thing I heard when my embryonic ears began functioning. her I was staying, she asked how long, and I said as long I’m of an age now when I begin to worriedly monitor the as it takes. She just nodded. I had to keep the door mostly internal sounds of my own heart but if I am at all like my closed as neighboring rooms were blasting the most awful mother who lived to age 88, my heart will continue its primetime TV shows at full volume. I turned up the radio essential pumping for at least another quarter century. to comfort her instead. I was so glad I was with her then At spring’s end in 2012, I moved into my mother’s hospice room and stayed for the final twelve days of her life. It – to control that cacophony as she must have had some perceptual challenges then. was a pleasant room with a view of a huge old tree we Between the supersonic flush of the toilet reverberating off watched leaf out over the three months she was there, the tile in her bathroom to the screeching of the reclining finally getting the more complex care she needed in the vinyl chair I dubbed my ‘lazy bed,’ I was regularly trying to final stage of lung cancer. One thing that eased this last muffle sounds so as not to startle her out of much needed move was that my five siblings and I were not wrenching relief when the meds finally did kick in . her from a long-lived family home. Luckily, a Depres- sion-era child, she was never tied to things, never wanting us to spend our money on extras she did not need, casting Beside her bed at night, I lay monitoring, listening as her off excess as she moved from the Midwest, down to Flor- breathing lapsed, then resumed, dozing and awakening ida, then after losing my dad, back up north. Her late life as the caregivers came for the turnings and checks, thank- involved five moves; none were forced and each lightened ing them each time, ever-present interloper that I was. her load. Sometimes she got confused and would ask us, “Who are Now all her things were down to a bare minimum in this all those young girls, coming and going?” of the caregivers spare private room, but we made sure her radio was who came to check on her, but other times she’d joke, “Do among them, and the classical station provided the same I have any choice?” about the vitals checks, and eventually soundtrack she’d listened to for years. We set a bottle of I could tell she was even accepting her impending death white wine in view on the counter opposite her bed, and more easily, now that her symptoms were under control. just seeing it there satisfied her enough, an evening quaff She seemed to relax, and though she’d always say “I’m 50