Friday, June 8, 2012

Who The Hell Am I?

Me and Mom on Mother's Day, just before the fall

Today Eden asked: Who The Hell Are You? and invited us to answer.

But today? I don't have an answer.

The I in me is missing.

I have been consumed, subsumed by caregiving.

And at the moment there is no end in sight.

Right now I am a daughter and a mother and truly nothing more.

Just a month ago I was becoming a somebody again. I even said so in The New York Times (online).

And then bully big bear life took a giant paw and swatted me back down. But first he took down my mother.

For a while now we have known that she was one fall away from hell, and our fingers were crossed for so long they grew permanently twisted and entwined like wisteria trunks. But it happened anyway. On a random Friday. (But so un-random: the Friday just before a three-day weekend full of family plans, as it is ever so.)

And though she is technically on the mend, the steel rod in her hip stronger than the bone surrounding it, able to hold her up, she is still falling down. My mother is descending the rabbit hole of despair. She is in a no-win situation and while I hold it together during my visits, I weep in the elevator on the way down to the street, emerge from the hospital's chill air onto the steaming city streets with silent sobs wracking my body, tears streaming down my face.

I have just spent two, three, four, five hours besides my mother who is grimacing and groaning and sharply intaking her breath, in between moments of begging me to let her go home. She is so tired, so discomforted, so without energy or appetite or hope; unmoored in time and space, unsure of where she is or why.

She wants to be allowed nothing more than to sleep; to sleep and sleep and sleep and rest her bone-weary body. But to let her lie in bed now is to let her lie in bed forever; if she doesn't get up on her feet soon, she never will.

So I am letting the rehab folks kindly torture her. And feel the twisting of my guts as she says: "I can't, I can't, I can't." But then does.

And every fresh day I lie in bed at 5:45, alarm braying, saying to myself: "I can't, I can't, I can't." But then I do.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade
Linking up with lovely Eden of Edenland today. Neigh.


  1. I'm sorry to hear of your mother's fall, Varda.

    I can't imagine how hard it is to watch one's parents disintegrate. I dread this part of the future with my mother. When the roles reverse. Because I can't imagine a time when I won't need her to be MY mum. Selfish, I know.

    I hope you find more space to be YOU really soon. xx

  2. It is so hard when things like this happen and turn our lives upside down - and we have no control over what happens after that.
    Thinking of you and sending love, hugs and positive energy.

  3. I am so sorry this is happening, right after your golden days of glory with the NYT and LTYM. You will see light again, I know you will. Sending you lots of love and prayers.

  4. It's just so brutal. I watched my grandmother, and my mother-in-law (pancreatic cancer AND kidney failure. an unholy alliance if ever there was one) ... all anyone can do is offer you a shoulder (actual and virtual), tell you that you're being the best daughter/mother/wife you can be RIGHT NOW, and that NYT & LTYM and all the other acronyms will be there waiting for you on the other side of this hard road. hugs and energy being sent your way from the far side of the world, m'dear

  5. I live in Jerusalem and my parents are in London, near my sister. I wonder what will be when the time comes, as it eventually does come to all of us.

  6. ((hugs, Varda, big hugs)) Thinking of you, your mom, and your family.

  7. Thinking of you & your family. ((Hugs))

  8. Oh, Varda.
    I wish things were different for her...and you.


  9. You are exactly this.

    This post: who you are. Why your blog is called what it is.

    THIS IS YOU: in the thick of life, always.

    You: there for everybody ... the ones blessed to have you.

    Like all of us who visit your blog.

    This is the beauty of Varda.

  10. Oh Varda, I am sorry. Sorry that your mother is in such pain. Sorry that a daughter sees this and carries it with her. So sorry :(

  11. Varda. This is a beautiful, powerful, heartbreaking post. I can't imagine.

    It's 10.30am Sunday morning and I'm so glad I read it right now, to set the day with insight and compassion for people who are facing hard things on the other side of the world. Love, and continued strength. To you and your mum.

    xxx eden

  12. Does she get why you and the staff are pushing her to walk? I hope she understands the connection between the pain and effort and the chance to get home again. But sorry she's in anguish and equally so that you have to bear witness. Love.

  13. Oh, yout words tug on my heartstrings for so many reasons.
    For your loss of freedom and identity.
    For your Mother's struggle to get through this and have hope.
    For her pain, for you sharing her pain.
    It is good you shared and you are a wonderful woman to be there for her so intensely.

  14. Oh Varda. That is such a lot.

    Even though you can't find all the things inside you that you are right now, you are a carer. A very, very good one.



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