It is early morning. Outside my bedroom window, I hear the quiet meowing of Marley the Great Cat. As the weather warms, he likes to spend the night outside, sleeping under the sheltering branches of the birch tree in our backyard.
Until around 4am that is. Then, he likes to sit outside my window, meowing in the hopes of waking me up.
It inevitably works.
I get up, no matter the hour, and let him in.
Though this morning, he managed to awaken my sister who is staying with us while in Calgary visiting our mother in the hospital.
Our mother is in that twilight time of living in this moment passing into that space where the moments are no longer here.
She is alert. She likes to get dressed in the morning with the help of her nurses. She likes to put on her own make-up and then, be moved from her bed to a wheelchair where she spends her days, sitting beside the window.
Outside her window, where once the view was of the distant peaks of the Rockies, she now has a red brick wall to look at.
She laughs about her view. Thinks its funny to only see a red brick wall.
I wonder if it reminds her of her life that is quickly changing its course from being amongst the living to being in that other place where life is no longer here on Earth.
She sits in her wheelchair, does her WordFind puzzels, watches TV and eat her meals, as long as the food is minced. She chats with whomever comes in, and in particular, flirts with the males who enter.
She’s good at that, our mother. Flirting. Always has been.
A beautiful woman all her life, she perfected the art of making men (and women too but I notice it particularly with men) feel welcome, important, special.
She loves it when my beloved, C.C., comes to visit. She smiles and treats him extra special, like his coming to visit is the best thing that ever happened, at least that day.
It’s very sweet to see her so animated, so committed to making him feel special when she’s the one lying in a hospital bed.
My sister and I chatted about mom’s state of being this morning.
About the uncertainty of her days to come. Concern for what happens next.
“It has to be frustrating,” my sister said as we stood in the kitchen sipping coffee in the pre-dawn quiet of early morning. “To feel so helpless. To not know what’s coming next.”
Yesterday, Anne offered to take our mother for a walk around the hospital. She was working with a nurse’s aide to rig up the IV onto the wheelchair when the head nurse came in and vetoed the idea. “We don’t want to risk her having a cardiac arrest somewhere in the hospital,” the head nurse said.
Well that’s reassuring. Not.
The sepsis that has invaded mom’s bloodstream continues to fight against the antibiotics they are pouring into her system.
The question remains, which will win?
At almost 95, it is a precarious battle. The winner unknown except, we know she has little resiliency to fight against anything, especially something as insidious as an infection seeking to claim her red blood cells as its own.
I see it in how she flirts with male visitors. She wants to be ‘normal’, she wants to act like life will continue on as one big adventure.
And she is losing the battle. Her heart isn’t in it. She’s tired.
Life is taking its natural course. Like a river flowing to the sea, it continues on, gracefully flowing around obstacles in its course, embracing them in its never-ending journey towards release into the great body of water that awaits it at some distant point upon the horizon. And as it gathers volume, its waters become deeper, more silent, more accepting of the flow, moving ever more gracefully towards the great sea beyond.
Our mother’s life is like that river. She continues to be in and of its flow, embracing what comes along her path, gracefully breathing into each moment, effortlessly letting go of each breath, moment by moment. And with each passing moment, she settles gracefully into the depths of knowing, her life is moving towards that giant sea where she will once again be united with those she has loved, and lost, upon her journey.