not long before my mom died, i took her to a doctor’s appointment in a nearby town. the car trip was relatively short but wiped her out. getting into and out of the car was difficult, as she had grown weak from rapid weight loss. by the time she was finished with blood tests at the hospital, i had to swing her legs up into the car. i don’t think i will ever forget the bony weight of her ankles, so large in comparison to her shins. i had to place her feet in a comfortable position on the floor mat because she couldn’t shift them an inch.
“will you look at that?” she said, in wonder.
“you’re tired,” i said and pulled the seatbelt across her lap.
i didn’t want to talk about her dropsy. there were too many things to talk about and i couldn’t face another thing.
when we stopped for a bagel and cream cheese, the waitress got mom’s order wrong and gave her sweetened coffee. mom couldn’t eat any sugar after her pancreas was mostly removed. ingesting sugar did something weird to her gut; dumping syndrome is what the doctor called it. and she said, “it doesn’t matter.”
it did matter.and i lost it it, completely lost it. “how are we supposed to get through this?” i said and cried in the parking lot of a Tim Horton’s, and she comforted me. my dying mom comforted me.
i don’t know why i thought of this tonight after another storm crashed through the city. the trees are shifting in the wind, scratching against the side of the house; i wonder when i’ll sleep.