I really wish you would come back and visit your mother once in a while. She’s awful lonely in there, and I can only make the trip so often.
When I do make it, she seems to have improved. Propped up in her chair with a thin blanket draped over her knees. Of course, she still cannot speak, but that is to be expected. We tuck a small bunch of napkins in her shirt collar to catch the spittle before it ruins her clothes. Even so, she is in high spirits. Especially when compared to her roommate. That poor woman has no one. No children or family to speak of — a true ward of the state. Some days I’m convinced no one comes in to check on her for vast stretches of time. So she’s left to wallow in her own filth, silently bracing herself for a finite and daunting future.
And that, truth be told, is why I write. I know your mother wasn’t always perfect. That sometimes as you grew up she spent more time nursing a bottle than paying attention to you and your needs. But she still deserves better than this. You always had new clothes and three hot meals a day, which I promise is more than your grandparents ever did for us. You had it lucky, in a way.
Isn’t your husband some kind of fancy doctor? Couldn’t the two of you, together, afford a single room for her at the least? A place she could move around in, with a view of the patio, instead of the parking lot? See, we would if we could, but your cousin just had another baby, and we’re helping her and her husband build a new addition on the house. Speaking of your cousin, have you called her yet to congratulate her?
And, besides, we’re the ones who visit her. We remember her birthday and bring her the pictures of the kids. You could at least kick in a little bit of the costs. Has she ever even met your little Rudy yet? Christ, he’s three years old — he should meet his grandmother before, God forbid, she passes away.
Heavens, thinking about it now, I realize we haven’t seen you in years. I know airfare can be expensive but, how long has it been? Five years? Six? Since your father’s funeral, or your sister’s? I know we haven’t always been the closest, but a family is a family, no matter what anyone says about it. Especially not those fancy therapist types.
And, for chrissakes, if you don’t plan on ever coming back, if you plan on severing all ties from your history, at least give me power of attorney. I’d like to take a look at her charts, and the cocktail of medication they force-feed her every day. I’m convinced she doesn’t need all of it. Because even though she’s better than most, sometimes when I come to visit, she’s in a fog. Her eyes are glossed over, while she stares at one of those hideous off-white walls. She even ignores the jazz station I put on for her, and that usually gets her dancing. It isn’t right.
I really hope I’ve changed your mind. She lights up when she looks at old pictures of you and our sister — even more so when I show her pictures of your little Rudy on the Facebook. I know that I can be dark, and even heavy-handed, but it’s only because I love you and your mother so much. I want you to remember where you came from with pride, not disdain.
Please, just come home this year for Christmas. Bud and the kids would love to see you. If only just for a day or two. It’d do all of us some good, even you, you’ll see.
With Love & God’s Blessing,