Sunday, June 3, 2012


It's been ten days now since my mom fell, broke her hip and landed in the hospital via the ER. And thus my second weekend being completely torn between my mother's and my family's total need of me.

To say I am nearly being ripped apart by this is an understatement.

I am so sorry to still be here in this space, neither delighting nor entertaining you, my readers. I like being funny. I miss being funny, sweet or lyrical. I even miss thinking about autism nearly all the time.

If you're newly visiting my blog and want something other than this grim, gut wrenching sandwich generation, ill, elderly and rather broken mother in the hospital stuff, might I suggest you read some old posts of mine? Try "Best Squash" or "The Alphabet Posts" in the tabs above. Or maybe click "Humor" from the label cloud to the left. (Or click my shiny hotlinks.)

And, for people who actually want the update on my life, my mom:  She's hanging in there. We're both exhausted.

They moved her to the rehab unit yesterday, and I'm not sure she was quite ready, but a bed was open so... she went.  Physically, she is out of immediate post-operative danger, but the rehab is going to be a long haul for her.

She's still in a lot of pain. And she's very up and down.

When I show up, I never know if I'm going to find with-it, upbeat, funny, joking with the nurses Mom, or confused, miserable, groaning in pain and begging to go home Mom.  And sometimes I will show up to find one type, and then she will emerge from a short nap, the other.

But show up, I must. If I am not there, my mother does not eat.

When I arrive a look of relief usually washes over her; she grabs my hand, holds it for all the world as if she's never letting go. And then three minutes later she's drifted off to sleep again, the hot cocoa I've brought her abandoned two sips in.

Today was my mother-in-law's unveiling. I was heartbroken that I couldn't go to the cemetery with my husband and the rest of his family. But it was to be the whole day, and I couldn't not show up at my mother's bedside.

Also this: while my mother is out of immediate danger, her inevitably fatal cardiac condition is progressing: critical aortic stenosis; which is the same thing that killed my father. (Which is why I am encouraging Ethan to go into hi-tech medical research and invent nanobots that can repair aortic valves. Just in case, you know?) This could be her last hospitalization. This could be the beginning of the end, which is surely coming, in the not so distant future.

I must push to be as there as possible for her. Each moment is precious. Even if she is sleeping through most of them right now.

Today was another one of those days. But they're all those days, these days.

Today Jake melted down because his video game didn't work right, and he didn't want to play another. And then, he had to take his glasses off because they were all foggy with crying and he sat on them, bent them out of shape. And then he was crying because he wanted his glasses - and the store that fixes them opens at noon earliest on Sundays.

And Ethan had undone homework hanging over our heads like an anvil, and I could not let him go off on a playdate until it was done. And Jake's vitamins needed to be poured for the day, because neither the sitter nor my husband can do that.

And so this morning the clock was ticking and I had not showered / dressed / packed my bag. Because there is always something else that needs to be done but I can't do it all and also get to my mother's side as soon as I wish.

I can't remember my last un-squashed moment.

But when the big one comes, when I am no longer squashed by my mother's demands but rather by the thousand-pound chest-weight of her absence, then I will long for these days when she was still here and I could still be with her, could still do for her.

And so I do, I do, I do.

And I sit and hold her hand.


  1. Just to let you know I'm still reading and still sending you good vibes. xxx

    1. Thanks, friend, I really appreciate that. Hospital vibes definitely need augmenting.

  2. Varda, my heart goes out to you right now. I know what your days are like. Just be there for her as much as you can. You are both in my prayers and I'm sending you lots of love and strength. I truly admire how much you are there for your boys and your mom. You are incredible. Please take care of yourself as well. {{{Hugs}}}

  3. Yes, that last paragraph, the one where you recognize that this may be your last chance to be with her, do for her? That wise perspective will guide you. No do overs for these times, and you are doing it right. your strength and kindness here is an example for us all (your boys included). hugs.

  4. Oh, this brings back so many memories...In 2010 I was in your shoes, so to speak, as my mom was in and out of the hospital with complications due to her Stage 4 cancer. I had 3 little boys at home, and was completely squashed...and now that I'm not, well, I miss those squashed days...and mostly, my mom. Hang in there...sending prayers and good thoughts your way.

  5. Hugs to you, Varda. It's hard to be pulled in two directions at once, but it sounds like you are doing the very best you can.

    And that's all a mother and daughter can do.


  6. We love you! We can't fix this, but we can love you. You and yours may be stronger than you think. Remember that you are not alone in this.

  7. Yes, dear Varda.

    I remember thinking the same thing...whilst in the middle of those lingering days, "Some day, I'll wish for these moments..."

  8. Still thinking of you & sending positive thoughts & vibes your way. Big Hug.

  9. So sorry to hear of your challenges. They are familiar. I just finished hospital duty with my sister, only to have my mom fall and break her hip. I spent two weeks with her in the hospital and then at rehab. I live four hours from her, so go back and forth. She had six weeks in rehab, which wasn't enough. But her insurance denied more time because she is 91. Yep. You heard that right. She was living independently in her own home, driving, taking care of herself before the fall. But they won't pay for her to recover to that level. So last weekend we moved her to assisted living for a transition time. Meanwhile I have work and school projects due, a trip to see my kids this week, and the after a three day break, a trip back to Mom's. I feel smooshed, like you. No one told me it would be like this. Praying for you! I can't imagine doing this with young children.

  10. Makes me think of my grandmother who thankfully is not hospitalized, but resting comfortably at home and who I hope has many many years left. For the fourth consecutive weekly phone call she's asked if I'm on my way down to visit. I have to go; she shouldn't have to ask.

  11. Oh....Varda, that last paragraph especially...poignant, powerful, moving.

  12. Stay strong! I'm sure everyone knows that you are doing your best.


I am so sorry to have to turn word verification back on, but the spam-bots have found me - yikes!