gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Monday, May 11, 2015

a non-mothers' day story.

"my mother's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it." buddy hackett.

mothers' day has come and gone with me purposefully neglecting to write anything in honour of my mom. there were as well no sappy facebook postings or hazy photos. because i have written about her ad nauseum and bored friends almost to tears narrating so many stories over the years. there was no sense in beating a dead horse, if you'll excuse the expression. there was no sense in dredging up the past yet again, especially on such a happy occasion. the memory of my old mom, after all, makes some big strong people shudder with fear even now, even though she's long gone.

i was with her when she died. i had driven down to be there as she lay dying in a north toronto hospital. day after day my dad, brother and i waited dutifully in her room. contrarian that she was, however, and life being tenacious as it is, mom did not die then. she rallied, improved, sat up, began barking out orders. eventually, we carted her back to my parents' home where she continued bossing us around and complained to dad about the state of the apartment. a few long hours later i gratefully slipped away and drove back to wakefield.

mom was rushed back to the hospital the very next day. i got a call from a nurse that evening who announced that i had better get there immediately if i wanted to see her alive again. so i went to bed. well, to be fair, it was late and i did not believe the nurse knew who she was dealing with. but, once i arrived in toronto the next afternoon and 'rushed' to her bedside, mom was in a coma. my brother remarked sombrely: "she's not coming out of this one." i looked over at him and said: "go get me a pack of 'benson and hedges' cigarettes. i'll put a couple under her nose and then we'll see if she's gonna come out or not." he simply responded by pointing out that my humour was inappropriate, which of course it was.  

nevertheless, i was the only one in her darkened room that same evening when mom opened her eyes. she muttered my name as i took her bony hand in mine. she looked up at me, half smiled and said: "you're a good boy. take care of your dad."

"my mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness and being. i may sometimes forget the words, but i always remember the tune." gracie harmon.