I'm writing from my BlackBerry, unable to sleep for the fourth night this week. People have asked me if I've been stressed over anything more than usual. I respond with a “no, not that I can think of” and let it go.
But laying here while trying to keep the pillow rotated on the cool side, my mind is flooded.
My mind likes to take long endurance swims at night, when the waves of the day have stopped and the waters are calm. Sometimes, the floods come and I can't escape them- this tidal wave of continual thoughts and chains of ideas that never end. I do my best work at night. I also do my best work of overanalyzing everything at night.
Tonight, after my husband's failed (yet noble) attempt at giving me a calming backrub, I heard a voice in my head. I saw a scene I wished to forget (and I'm not talking metaphysical “Medium” sort of stuff). I heard the voice of my mother, struggling to get a few words out, while seeing her frustration over the total lack of control she had over her body. I see myself struggling to hear and comprehend her words. After several attempts of asking her to repeat herself, I pretend like I knew what she was saying. And she pretends I'm right as her face relaxes in a resigned way, knowing I tried to understand.
I see her laying in ICU, struggling to keep her eyes open. Struggling to make a sound-one more attempt of her trying to communicate- something she hadn't been able to do for years. My feelings of helplessness and fears that years of indifference or laziness have brought me to this point- of having to watch my mother take her last breath. At age 50.
This time three years ago we were putting her in the hospital, after telling the nursing home that something was really wrong with her this time. I didn't know it would be the last time we'd visit her in that damn nursing home.
When I am at my computer and decide to open up about this again, I'll write about her illness.
For now though, I'll lie awake wondering if I'll ever remember her voice- the one before her body failed on her, the one that people say had a slight Southern drawl- the voice of my mother. For now, I'm going to flip the pillow to the cool side and hope that tonight will be the night her voice finds me in my dreams.