In The Rearview Mirror

After a week at Summer Camp, it’s not unusual for Campers to feel exhausted from their adventures but also, some Campers may feel let down as daily life resumes its normal pace. Empty the suitcases, do mountains of laundry and arrange photos in albums to preserve the precious memories! Is the adventure really over??!luggage

Though I’m glad to have completed my “Summer Camp” week and to be back home, I often feel melancholy as I drive away from my mom’s home. Given her upcoming birthday and the march of advanced years, it’s difficult to ignore the niggling inner voice that reminds me this could be the last time I see her this side of Eternity.

If you’ve already suffered the loss of parents, please understand I’m only halfway there. Considering how my mom embodies my “other self” in so many ways, I can’t begin to comprehend what a huge loss her passing will mean for me! I know this:  every minute we spend together now is more precious than gold.

Whenever I’m with my mom, I’m amazed at how well she copes in a world where sight and hearing are almost indispensable gifts. People who meet her on the street (or in retail stores) often express their dismay to learn of her disabilities. She doesn’t use a cane to get around. She makes her way slowly and carefully, navigating curbs and steps, usually without missteps. Now that she’s got reliable hearing aids, she can converse and interact without asking people to repeat themselves.

StrickerClaraBuerke_97th_Ruthe  WestStricker_TamaraStrickerDorey_2013 (10)Several years back when her eyesight worsened and she had to give up driving, that was probably the biggest blow to her independence, but she remains in her own home to this day. There are bus services and friends who transport her for appointments. Except for a cleaning lady who comes in periodically and a Meals-on-Wheels delivery three days a week, she cooks (simple meals) and cleans for herself.

She also spends time daily on her computer, reading email, researching subjects of interest, reading local, regional and world news and opinion posts. She’s able to use the computer thanks to magnification aids and text-to-voice readers like ZoomText. When her computer hard drive failed a couple months back, she waited anxiously for it to be fixed (and felt it took far too long)!

As one might expect, there are some challenges. With her impaired sight, she may forget to insert the coffee filter into the coffee maker. Measuring ground coffee straight into the place reserved for a filter produces a coffee pot full of wet grounds. Ugh! But few others would do as well as Mom does with multiple impediments!

The poem below puts into verse some of the thoughts knocking around in my brain. I don’t care for morbid poetry and the concept of death can be off-putting. Since death is a reality of our world, though, it’s not a subject one might successfully avoid … and that’s kind of what the poem is meant to communicate.

Note-To-Self

Renée