Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Mother and the Crow

Mom 1955




My mother was ninety-three when she died last month and frankly I was a bit surprised that she left so young. Her grandmother was well over one hundred when she died, so I just kind of assumed that mom, being in nearly perfect physical health at her last birthday, would probably carry on until at least 2015. But that didn’t happen. That dark crow, Alzheimer’s, hovering over her these last few years, made a last great swoop this past Autumn. He roosted somewhere in her mind and didn’t leave. There were, however, moments when he dropped his guard. These were not warm, blessed minutes of normalcy but tragic windows through which mom saw where she had been and where she was and where she was surely heading. Those were the terrified, “My God, what’s happening to my brain?” moments. It must have been in one of those brief, bright episodes that she devised a plan to beat the bastard; she’d starve him to death. In little more that three weeks she went from her usual eighty-six pound weight to about sixty-eight pounds. I am convinced that she had decided to kill the crow, even if it meant he’d take her with him. And she did. And he did.

8 Comments:

At Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 9:32:00 AM EST, Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Oh Jon,

I'm so sorry. The picture of your mother is stunningingly beautiful. Terrible thing to know you're losing your mind, so sad. I love how you express it as a crow she's trying to starve to death. Again, my condolences. The death of a parent is such a sad hard thing whether they're 53, 93, or 103.

 
At Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 9:56:00 PM EST, Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

I'm sorry about your mom, John. I'm in the middle of worrying much about this. My mom is 90 and her health has declined so much in the fast couple of years, although she still seems to have her mental faculties.

This was a fine piece. Like Michelle, I find the crow image compelling.

 
At Friday, January 18, 2008 at 6:24:00 AM EST, Blogger Susan Miller said...

Incredibly tragic, Jon. My heart goes out to you for it knows not of that pain.

For a brief stint in my twenties I worked on a geriatric psychiatric ward with some of the most beautiful people in the world. A few times I witnessed what your mother so bravely faced, the moments of lucidity when an individual is able to see what is happening to them. I always thought if that crow takes me it should take me whole and not let me know. 'Cause, like your Mom, I would fight, too.

The photograph is beautiful. The woman is courageous. And your writing, as always, is eloquent.

Thank you for sharing it.

 
At Friday, January 18, 2008 at 7:57:00 PM EST, Blogger Kate S said...

Oh, Jon, I'm so sorry to know that's where you've been.

 
At Friday, January 18, 2008 at 10:28:00 PM EST, Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Heartfelt condolences, Jon. I'm going to see my parents next week, and the sense of bittersweet time passing is very strong.

I am glad she fought, and I'm sorry she couldn't stay.

 
At Friday, January 25, 2008 at 4:43:00 PM EST, Blogger Pythia3 said...

I'm am sorry for you dear loss, Jon. Beautifully written and expressed and a lovely photo of your mom . . . I understand the starving of the crow, as my mom starved her despair and herself along with it.
Losing a parent is something we are never prepared for - even if we think we are . . . it's as if . . . they will always be here as our reference in this world.
Much love to you and your family.
My deepest condolences.

 
At Friday, May 16, 2008 at 9:38:00 AM EDT, Blogger max said...

I won't assume to know the depth of your sorrow, but I feel good about commenting on your mom's final victory as you describe it.
At a time when few can maintain any type of control, she was able to muster the inner strengh to have the final say.
One by one, your mom yanked the feathers off of that sonofabitch until the vey last moment when she choked its scrawny evil neck and sent it into oblivion.
Yes, a bit macabre, but it was a great show of strength and of course - most importantly - she got the last word in.
Hoorah for your mom and may her victorious spirit know peace forever.

 
At Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 3:31:00 PM EDT, Blogger Joyce said...

Beautiful picture of your mother. Although sad, I loved the way you described her condition and how it affected her.

 

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