“Hi Mom!” I sing into the phone. I call everyday to see how she is doing.
I hear her on the other end. Her voice is raspy and wheezy, as if she’s talking through a harmonica.
“I. Fell. I. Fell. I’m. On the. Kitchen. Floor”
“What, mom? What? You fell? Are you ok? What happened?” I ask too many questions for her to answer. Not because she doesn’t want to. Not because she has fallen and is hurt. But because she can’t talk. Her vocal chords are almost entirely paralyzed. For several months she has been struggling to eek out words, to breath, to swallow. It happened about the same time she lost the use of her left hand which happened after the loss of her legs. She’s had pneumonia more times than I’ve taken her for granted in the past year. Way too often.
“Larry. Is. On. His. Way. On. His. Way. Home.” Gasps of air interrupt every word so she can find the strength to force each one out. I feel a little relief that my step-dad is leaving the golf course early to be there, to pick her up, to hold her, comfort her, tell her everything will be alright.
“What happened, Mom?”
All I can hear are the words “living room” “kitchen” and “walker”. I can hear the kitchen television in the background. She must be there.
“I. Have. My walker. I. Just. Can’t. Pull myself. Up.”
“Can you at least see the TV?” I say. Trying to lighten the situation. She’s been catching up on all the Food Network shows because they don’t have that channel in the hospital where she has been spending too much time this past year.
“Yeah. Yeah. The TV is on. I. Gotta. Go.” She says.
I want to keep her on the phone. To talk to her while she is waiting so she isn’t alone. In case she’s scared and needs a good distraction. God knows I could babble to her for hours while she waits. God knows I usually do. I need to keep her on the phone with me. To comfort me. To keep me from feeling alone.
But I don’t argue with her. I imagine it must be hard to hold herself up while holding the phone. I will do whatever she tells me to do. If that means hanging up, I will do it.
“Ok. Are you sure?”
“Yes. Larry. Is. On. His. Way.”
“Ok. I love you mom. I love you I love you.”
“I love. You. Too. Honey.”
And the call is over.
I try to pray but I don’t know what to pray for. Because I don’t want to think about it. All I can do is worry about her, worry about me, worry about my sister in Pakistan. Worry is my comfort.
What prayer can I say for my mom right now? I reach out to you for the words.