Just a few more days and the company I used to work for in the states will forever close their doors. I really haven’t worked since the end of February, but at least I was still employed. It feels a little different now as everything is coming to an end and to fully understand that I will not work with the people that once were my team again. Yet, a few friendships have formed that are very special and will last well beyond. I might’ve not worked for a few months, but in reality I have busted my tail. I have engulfed myself into a different mission and the payoff has been of other value than the monetary kind. One that has been rewarding, most important and sometimes even missing. Mom has been my mission, my employer, the one consuming all of my efforts and actions.
The past week, since Moms return to the nursing home has mostly been peaceful. I know that she is genuinely happy when I come to visit her, and she has smiled that child like smile more times than ever. She is considerate, rational and accommodating. Her face is soft as well as her voice and she reacts to touch, is food motivated for the treats that i bring her and seems to enjoy my company. We read the little Buddha for the first time in what had been a few weeks. The last time we read was just before she was admitted into the hospital, and Mom loves the little book. I’m not always sure that she understands the lessons that come with each chapter, and sometimes she even gets a bit sidetracked by wanting to read a headline in her own magazine. When I stop to read because she is not giving me her undivided attention, she quickly puts the magazine down and pleats that she is paying attention. I haven’t tested her yet by making her repeat what I just read, and I’m grateful that “I” can do something as simple as read to her, that makes her happy. Again the importance lies within that it is me who brings that joy to her, and honestly I often feel that she might have not survived the last episode without me. I know that I gave her purpose and something to look forward to. I made her hold on and not give up hope. I made her believe that she could do it and she did.
During a rough patch a few weeks ago, she told me that my childhood bed was going to stay where it was, in my childhood room, the room I’m sleeping in. It was too late and I had purchased a mattress and a new bed that was waiting to be assembled and to which she had prior agreed to. I couldn’t turn back anymore and I think she knew it. During the argument I told her that I had planned on putting the old bed in the attic and cover it for protection. “Don’t you dare”she said and although I did assemble the new bed, I didn’t put the old one in the attic. I felt guilty to some point, going against her wishes, feeling even weird removing the screws that Dad once drove into the wood as he assembled my childhood bed. I took the pieces downstairs into what used to be my grandparents apartment and leaned them against the wall. It’s been weeks since this happened now. Two days ago, out of the blue, Mom asked me if I assembled the white bed (my childhood bed) again up in the attic. Somewhere and somehow she had stored that information and recalled it in the most surprising and unusual of ways. I was stumped for a moment as I looked at her waiting on the answer, and finally said “No”. It was her turn to be surprised and she responded by saying “I thought that’s what you said you would do.” I just smiled at her and said “Well I didn’t” while changing the subject almost within that same sentence. I wasn’t sure if telling her the whole truth would be beneficial and I didn’t want to risk getting her upset. It all worked out and I think deep down she knows that I did put up the new bed. It doesn’t matter, but what does is to keep her at peace. That has been my mission and I have become a collector of smiles and one moment at a time.