08:03:22 pm on
Thursday 25 Jul 2024

A Page Turns
AJ Robinson

Brother Greg and Mom

My company had its annual Baseball junket last Friday. Although I’m not much of a baseball fan, I think it’s a sweet perk of the company. So, that I applaud it saying something.

A company-funded bonding experience.

The company charters a bus that stops at each of its offices; picks up everybody and we all get together at the stadium in Fort Myers where the Cincinnati Twins train. This year the Twins faced the Tampa Bay Rays for our entertainment. Different team from last year and that wasn’t the only difference.

I didn’t ride with everyone else. Fort Myers is just a little north of Naples, where my mom is convalescing following her car accident. Given the state of her health, I look for any opportunity to visit.

I drove my own car to the game. It was good spending time with my co-workers, in the skybox. Great folks to hangout with, fine food and an exciting game. The Twins had a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, to win the game.

Yes, it was a great game. Afterwards, the gang headed for the bus. I said my goodbyes and got in my car. My brother Greg had texted me the address of the long-term care facility where mom is staying; I punched it into the Google Map on my phone and the soft female voice of the App guided me to the right place.

Once there, it was easy enough to find the room where staying. The sight of her was not easy to deal with. She was a shadow of the powerful woman I once knew.

She was asleep when I arrived. I let her rest. I just sat with her.

Her breathing was hard and laboured. She often seemed to struggle to get air. My heart ached with each convulsion of her poor body.

When she woke, I smiled, as I looked forward to chatting with her. It did not work out that way. She was confused and disoriented, couldn’t string together a coherent sentence and didn’t seem to know who I was. I left soon after, weeping as I raced to my car to avoid making a spectacle of myself.

My brother Greg lives less than a mile away from where my mother was recovering. I was soon in the comfort of family. Here at last was some good news.

Usually, mom was quite “with it” and in control of her faculties. He and Anne, his wife, assured me mom was doing better. We resolved to visit in the morning.

The evening belonged to family. Christina came over with her two little ones, Jack and Sarah; Jenni and Jhone brought little Henri. We all sat down to dinner and had a nice visit. I felt my spirits rise; we had family.

Sorting possessions.

In the morning, Greg and I reviewed some of the possessions of my mother; jewelry she wanted us to share with the family, items to go into storage, records that needed to be read.

There was something special among her possessions, her journals. I knew that mom had written her autobiography. I had no idea she’d kept records of some of the other events of her life.

One spiral binder had “California Trip” and “Alaska Trip” written across the cover. An obvious reference to two trips she’d taken with second husband Jim. Inside were pages of hand-written notes detailing the trips. Greg was hard-pressed to read her writing; I took the books and papers; with time, I transcribed all of it. I would ensure that all her stories were told, were shared with the family.

After that, we took a load of her belongings to the storage bin that holds her furniture and then went to visit her. It lightened my stresses to see her much improved. She was able to talk, to tell us how she was feeling hungry and chat with us.

She remembered my visit, but was unclear on what had taken place. I pointed out that she’d been unable to talk, which saddened her. Greg learned that the surgeon wants to operate on her in three or four weeks to finish with her legs; that is, remove the pins and cages.

Afterwards she faces many months of rehab. It remains unlikely she’ll ever walk again, but we can hope for the best. There was also her mental outlook. She’s deeply depressed, but not in physical pain, which is a blessing.

Late at night, when she wakes up and feels the weight of her circumstances crushing her soul. She prays for death. She asks God to take her, to “take her home,” as the old saying goes, and spare her anymore of life.

She wants, as Shakespeare would say, “to sleep; perchance to dream.” Hamlet may have worried as to “what dreams may come,” but not mom. No, should she dream of her life, there will be no regrets, no sorrow. Even the hardships were easy enough for her to bear as she had the love and support of family and friends, always.

Her recovery and aging are hard to watch. It is harder still to not know how to help her. Her strength and vitality continue to shine through. Yet, her sadness and fatigue are clear.

The final page is yet to be written.

Which way will she turn? We still don’t know. A page has been turned in her life, but the finale has yet to be written, and thus we wait to see.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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