My mother was a character. That is the best way to describe her. She was strong-willed and driven, practical and compassionate, and generous, but not warm and fuzzy. I would not describe our relationship as close. In fact, it was fractious. But for most of the time, we enjoyed many activities together. She lived with us for her final three years. I drank a lot of wine. To the end, Mom maintained a sharp wit reflecting her family’s British heritage.
I learned to admire much about her as I grew older. Born during WWI, she witnessed the brief life of a younger brother who died shortly after birth. Less than ten years old, Mom and her three siblings suffered the death of their father, leaving the family to manage during the great depression. WWII took the life of their beloved brother, who left a young widow and unborn daughter. Life was not easy for that generation.
Early morning of what would be her last night in our house, she fell, fracturing her left arm and pelvis. She spent the day in a hospital bed doped with pain meds and hydrating via IV. No food was offered, even after surgery was ruled out. Thankfully, we had been “force feeding” her the past week, meaning that I continuously filled her dinner plate as she ate. After kicking some dust with the nursing staff, we got them to get her some food.
Now, this could be soap box preaching decrying the American medical system. But then I would have to drink an entire bottle of wine myself and use my week’s worth of WW points. I’ve been in the hospital bed as a patient and beside it as a health-care worker and family member. Hospitalization isn’t pretty.
Anyway, Mom was expressing confusion, so to help orient her, my sister asked if she knew where she was.
Mom’s answer: Hell.
We had to agree.