Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'm a mother and a child.
What happens when my mother turns into a child?
I become her parent as well.

My mother has reached the next-to-last stage of renal failure.
One more number to go, before the choice of renal dialysis.
She's 83 years old. She's had a very sad journey since my father's death 10 years ago.
She's lonely and unhappy.

In 2008, my mother lost her job with the City of Union town. Our town filed for bankruptcy. At the time, many city employees lost their job. She was a school-crossing guard at a local middle school, and the last one laid off. She loved the responsibility of her children's safety. She raced anxiously to work. Anxious to check on them. And, each night's phone call would always relay the tales of each child.

After she was laid off, the only time I sensed joy in her was when she visited my daughter, Suni, and my son-in-law, Ed. She flies out each year to avoid the freezing winters in PA. She has a splendid time. Someone to talk with several times a day. Marines coming by to visit Ed. Suni loves to cook and makes an incredible feast for them each night. There's also cable, so she can watch her fill of Lifetime, Hallmark, and the Food Network.

I also prepare myself for when she returns, because she becomes depressed and sad again. This depression and sadness manifests itself through an increase of digestive issues. Usually the month or two after she returns, she is admitted to the hospital. Dehydration, abdominal pain, and "unknown origin" for diarrhea, etc.

This last return in May has been no different. I could see it coming, too. No amount of cautionary words made a difference. Ten days ago, I urged her to make an appointment with her PCP. I used to work for her PCP, so she gets appointments immediately!

"No, she exclaimed, I'm ok. If I don't feel any better in a few days, we'll call the doctor." Days came; days ended. Still not much improvement. I know that I must approach her calmly. I won't take over the reins, because I know it's best for people to main control for as long as possible.

Today, I finally convinced her to allow me to call the doctor. Unfortunately, he's on vacation until this coming Tuesday. Now we are trying the infamous B.R.A.T diet to get through this weekend.

I do not look forward to the day I have to take control of the reins. It will eventually come, however; no matter how much I delay it. Her safety and health are more important than egos, or the quest for control.

It's the final dignity I can allow her.


  1. My heart and thoughts are with you Sam. My mother-in-law is in much the same position. We are literally counting the days down to when this lovely lady will no longer be with us. It breaks my heart to catch the look on my husband's face when he is in repose and unaware of my presence....
    Yes we become the parent when our own become the children. But at least we've had the example of those who have gone before and shaped our lives, good and bad.

  2.'re truly a great person, friend, mother, daughter and everything else to many people...never forget to be true to yourself.


  3. Your smile is contagious, your eyes sparkle and you are a kind and loving person Sam (your picture says it all). I'm glad I got to know a bit more about you through this blog. Your mom must be grateful to have you as her friend, her gardian and her daughter.
    Thanks for sharing a piece of you with us.