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Friday, March 6, 2009

Gurgle, Gurgle, Whoosh

I spent part of my Friday with my mom. For the first hour or so that I was there, Dad decided to run some important errands which he's uncomfortable doing without someone home with her. Mom coined the word which pretty much described it:

Mommysitting

It's funny how the passage of time seems to reverse our roles in life. When I was a little boy, my mom would spoon feed me baby food. Now, I spoon feed her yogurt. She would clean up after my messes, I wipe her chin after she has trouble drinking water.

It's an odd thing. In one sense, it breaks my heart. In another sense, "mommysitting" is a tremendous honor. This woman sacrificed so much to see me survive my youth. Every day I came home from school to find my mom at home. You don't see that very much these days. I can still see her with the ironing board set up in front of the TV as she watched one of her favorite soaps. I kind of snicker just to think of it now.

Now, she lies in bed with only the sound of her oxygen machine to keep her company.

Gurgle, gurgle, whoosh.

Her words are growing more and more difficult to understand. I hope it's the medication talking, but sometimes the conversation includes questions which have nothing to do with what we're talking about. Whether it's the medication or not, it's heartbreaking to see the woman my very life depended on at one time, now struggling to carry on a coherent conversation.

Gurgle, gurgle, whoosh.

I find myself sometimes mesmerized by this machine. I don't understand how it works. I see a little canister of water bubbling, and somehow it is processed into oxygen to help her breathe. Sometimes I find myself looking at this contraption to avoid seeing my hero struggle with her motor skills and simple actions we do with ease, like taking a drink of water.

Gurgle, gurgle, whoosh.

My dad has learned to live with the constant cadence from this machine. It can be quite loud when you're in there. Sometimes he goes in and checks on her just to make sure her chest is moving as evidence of her breathing.

One day soon, the familiar rhythm of the gurgle, gurgle, whoosh will cease in their home. The deafening silence will be a jarring reminder that one of God's greatest creations has returned to Him, and gone from us. Even as I sit here in my office, some 40 miles away from their home, I can hear the oddly soothing sound in my head which tells me she's still with us. The comforting sound of gurgle, gurgle, whoosh.

Sleep well tonight, Mom and Dad.

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