Yesterday was better. Yesterday was brilliant. Then again, when I really admit it to myself, yesterday has left me with mixed impressions. There's no doubt, however, that yesterday was Thursday, a day I took the 5 1/2-hour journey to visit my mom, who I hadn't seen since Saturday. I try to visit her once a week and often manage to see her more often, yet the journey alone takes up the better part of a day and it takes a day or so to recover from the journey. Bus lag, I guess. I look forward to these journeys, though. They afford me the opportunity to catch up on my reading and, when I'm not in the mood to read, provide me with an excuse to sit and do absolutely nothing
. And if you believe doing nothing
isn't possible, then you can call it people-watching, or road-tripping, or meditating, or whatever; but to me, it's pure and simple: I'm doing nothing
, and it feels good (though I can't stand doing nothing
That's the journey itself. The actual visitations are even more fulfilling. Besides giving Mom freedom from The Chair
and myself the satisfaction of having been her saviour, my visitations seem to restore some sort of balance to my life. Though I eat as well as could be expected and exercise as often as possible, and though I keep myself remarkably occupied for someone who hasn't managed to bring himself to send out a single resume in well over a year, I still find myself out-of-balance after I've gone a week or so without paying a visit to my ailing mom. The feeling is unrelated to guilt, though that can creep in as well, especially at the thought of Mom being stranded in her room for more than a few days. It's much more akin to a general feeling of unhealth, as at the tail end of a gluttonous week spent gorging oneself with donuts and ice cream. Except in this case, it's my mental health that's being compromised, and the need to get back to the routine of healthy living persists until I pack up a lunch and head to the bus stop for my weekly journey.
Yesterday Mom was full of energy - quite a contrast to the state she was in a week before, asleep and nearly comatose for the entire duration of my visit - and after untying her bondages, Mom immediately got up and urged me to take her for a walk. Overcast in the morning, it became sunny by noon as Mom and I traversed the premises, circling for hours from one end of the property to the other, Mom hardly faltering in her footsteps - that is, until she noticed the repetition of our course and halted in her tracks, exasperatingly exclaiming We're going in circles!
Even then I found satisfaction in the knowledge that this indicated Mom was alert and aware
this day, much more than I'd seen in a month, and I was extremely excited to witness the transformation - so much so that I overlooked, until later in the afternoon, the consequences of Mom's cognizance. For as the afternoon grew long and the cumulous clouds combined to draw a curtain over the sun's happy aspect, I began to realize the frailty of my own disposition, a euphoria predicated on the notion of Mom's mental "clarity"; which, when truthfully examined, revealed the terror that so dominates her life, and which exists because
of that very awareness of her mental deterioration.
I have no words to describe the atrocities. Or perhaps I don't feel adequate. I don't feel I have the appropriate verbage. I don't have. What. It. Takes.
The woman is in a Geri-Chair, a geriatric chair - essentially strapped to a chair, permanently. She's on a multitude of drugs, an arsenal of medications designed to suppress her. When I visit, she's either asleep or asleep, always tied down. I bring her a burger, a milkshake, french fries, tacos, fresh fruit, dark chocolate, Coke - tiny treats to enhance her life. We walk around the grounds of the facility. I talk, trying to feed her memories. She talks, but I rarely understand her meaning. We walk - it's all we can do.
We can't leave the facility since she's too high. She wouldn't make it past the parking lot, and since I don't have a car, it's ridiculous to even consider. So we walk, in circles, sometimes in spaces smaller than a living room. We stop at drinking fountains. We listen to to the hollering music of ice cream trucks outside the gates, begging for attention as we walk in circles, fenced in our private world.