22 August 2015


In the one room were four generations of people my mother loved-Sons, Daughters, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren, Nieces and Nephews and her Sister and Brother. Each generation represented all the parts of her life, from her childhood to her respected position as Elder.  Each of us stood there with their own memories, each trying to let her know we'd bring her home. Or at least, help her to the door.  When she took her last breath of this world's air, we were stunned, even though we'd expected it.

A month ago, I was in and out of the hospital room where my mother was struggling to come home.  I'd called my sisters and brothers, my father and a couple cousins.  We'd all gathered to make decisions. I'd not wanted to have to make decisions any more.  I wanted someone else to take charge.  So glad my sons were with me.  No questions, no pressure, just offering their love and support.

The following days were mostly a blur.  Time warps.  Yeah, those now have a different meaning, at least for me.  Today, tonight and tomorrow will be the first time I've been alone for longer than a few hours.  36 hours? Perhaps 48?  Time enough to sort through my own feelings, my own memories and pick myself up to continue on the path I'm meant to travel.

There's music playing, Mom's favorite, Hank Williams.  Soon, I'll put others on and remember when we'd sit and listen, sometimes turning the music up so loud my son asked if we were having fun since he could hear it all the way out to the road.  Teehee.  Least it wasn't at no 3 in the morning.

We've sorted through her things, putting them in piles.  Yeah, I'd often complained about her pack-rat ways, mostly cause it was hard to clean,  a process sometimes hard to accomplish.  We each had our own way of cleaning.  Mine wasn't the easiest for her to watch.  I knew she'd have to leave the room because she had to bite her tongue.  The kitchen ended up being the only room I'd clean, least the external surfaces.  She would tell me "Looks good" when I was finished and she'd come back to sit in her spot.

When she'd clean, I tried not to hover, especially the past few months.  I'd try to find something else to do.  I was glad when she'd go take her ol' lady nap.  Then I'd check over the dishes, look in the cupboards to find where she'd put things. Find the stuff I used mostly.  You'd think since we were the same height, things would be easy to find.  Not so.

You may be asking yourself why I didn't get my own house if we had to bite our tongues.  The answer to that question is so complex, it'd take years to sort out.  The best way to describe it would be that we'd come to accept each other as women and to respect each other's ways.  We had a give and take relationship once we understood each other's strengths and weaknesses.  And this wasn't something I could understand until I went through the same sort of things with my own sons.  We'd come to understand that we needed each other in this three generation household, four when the great grandchildren would visit.  And we found a way to make it work.

She'd only lived off the reservation for one three month period, then returned to stay.  It was important to her that everyone had a home to return to when they got tired of their travels out and about.  In a subliminal way, I understood that she wanted me to do the same.  I tried to "pass the buck" and told her to give the house to my sons.  When she gave me the look, I said "My sons will take care of their mother."  That was enough for her.

When my sister called and told us we'd better get down there, we finished the setup that now wouldn't be used.  My mom knew that we'd gotten the house ready for her to come home.  And that was enough for me.  

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