For this author, creative endeavors have been sorely tested by motherhood. But also transformed, and in ways she wouldn’t have imagined – couldn’t have, without her life “rewritten” as it has been, by her children. So linger here, to read all things weaverly, writerly and motherly.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Imprisoned

"I'm imprisoned," my mother laments. She is resting on her bed. She splays her hands open across her knees as if in an attempt at freedom.

At 93, her license has been suspended after driving into the wall of a carpet store.

"I don't need to drive far, why can't they understand that? Just up for milk. To get my haircut. A couple of blocks...."

By imprisoned she also means isolated. Isolation can look and feel the same; it can feel as damp and shadowy as the worst imagined cells. Even when the sun is out and blatant on her windows, showing up winter's dirty prints – The windows she looks out of most days, lying on her bed, too tired to do much else after the long ordeal of getting dressed, breakfast, and sorting through the mail. Looking out to the confused daffodils that have bloomed too early and now already are hanging their withered heads.

But also to all the small things she may have missed when she was more agile, moving about too quickly to take note of, like how long and still a rabbit can sit in the middle of the lawn.

I sat on the bed beside her. A robin was tugging at a worm at the edge of the garden.

"I saw a whole flock," she told. "Who sees flocks of robins? Like those black birds that make such a raucous. But the robins stay. In fact, I don't think they ever left."

It had been a mild winter. I'd noticed our own robins. Just not enough to know whether they'd actually ever left to come back. Most days, I am far too agile and busy to have missed them.

We talked about moving the bird feeder closer to her bedroom window rather than outside the sunroom window.

I remember when my grandmother was my mother's age, and in a nursing home, my mother placed a small bird feeder just outside her own window.

Isolation can be the loneliness of that, being on the other side of a window. And my world will feel as damp and cold as a tight cell once my mother is gone. I will be imprisoned. In grief.


Sherry Gloag said...

I can so relate to what you have sahred. My mother came to adore her bird feeders by her window and even, on warm days, let the birds come inside, (she had french doors to her room).
While there will be grief, in spades, dance to the good memories, your Mum will deserve that more.

Sharon Greenthal said...

Very true - it's one thing to choose to be alone, another to have to do so.

Having lost my father a few years ago, I can say with certainty that your mother will never really be gone. You will hear her voice all the time.

alberta ross said...

I put bird feeders outside mum's window when she too was imprisoned in her bed, mourning the loss of her independence, the birds delighted and audio books filled lonely hours - they never go even after death.

Kathy said...

Such a sad post. My father in law is coming to terms with being in a home. He has Alzheimer's and he told me he wants out of that prison. I felt bad for him. My mother in law likes her freedom and doesn't want to deal with him. My husband and I don't notice a difference in him from how he ever was.
Just sad.


nutschell said...

sad, but true. I love the last line.
Happy A-Zing

Beverly Diehl said...

She may hate not being able to drive, but good for you for taking the keys away, before something tragic happened.

Perhaps as she adjusts, the robins and other critters outside her window will continue to interest her.

Miranda Hardy said...

It's amazing to look at things in such perspective. I imagine I'll feel the same way when my time comes.

Texas Playwright Chick said...

Heart felt post - Love that you understand her position, her pain. can hurt.

November Rain - k~ said...

I worked for a retirement community for a period of time, and I think the hardest thing that any of the residents had to deal with was the moment they could no longer drive. It's like that last little bite of freedom is taken away. It's nicer when it can be augmented by frequent trips. Hard... and the last paragraph really got me.

Anonymous said...

Your mother is very lucky to have you, Sandra. My mom still drives, but there are signs of her age. She is in her 80's and she's my best friend. I too, do not know how I'll cope when she's gone. Just love her so much.

Anonymous said...

It's been so many years since I lost my mom, and yet she is still right here with me. This post is so raw and simple that it makes me ache a little for you. For your mom. For me. ♥

Andrea Coventry said...

Mom my is in her own prison of Alzheimer's. A bird feeder is a good idea. I may have to look into that for her the next time I go out there. Thanks for the inspiration. And may positive vibes envelope you and your mother along the way.

Pa Ul said...

lovely post

do check out my letters at GAC a-z

Jenn said...

I don't know what it would like to be immobile. I know I wouldn't like it much. I think I would feel imprisoned too and quite lonely. I feel for your Mom. I hope she has better days ahead. Surround her with love--I'm sure it can go a long way!!

Cheers, Jenn

Rachel said...

My grandfather is going through this right now. And you're right, it's imprisonment, isolation...and lost independence that's making him so miserable with the change. The bird feeder may help, but it sounds like she has a supportive family to help her through it too.

Lynn Proctor said...

i just lost my mother--i think i might have shared that with you before---you are so wise to realize the loneliness your mother is going through--i pray blessings to both of you--beautiful post

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