Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not eating

We had a graduation dinner today at Shoney's in Neosho with three graduates together at once. Christine graduated from MSSU, I from Pitt State with my Master's, and Jessica Behrens, (my cousin), received her pharmaceutical degree in Omaha this week. The easiest way to manage was for me to sit with Mom, constantly making her sit, while Christine grabbed a plate for her at the buffet. When she returned, Mom ate so little. Her appetite has been quite good up until this time. She has eaten everything she sees and we've had to watch that she didn't eat so much so as to get a stomach ache. Lately, Dad has mentioned several times how he can't get her to eat, though. Today, I saw what he meant. If I were being generous, I'd say that she might have eaten 100 calories....about a dozen bites in all, and that took me working with her and sometimes feeding her myself. She has lost a whole lot of weight just since I had last seen her, (which was two weeks as I had been out of town last weekend.) Christine also had a look of worry. She said, "Is it our fault that we're not making her sit down and eat? I even bought her pudding and she wouldn't eat it." Poor thing. I assured her that it was not her fault at all and she could not make Mom eat if she didn't want to do so. I said, not meaning to be cold, but I don't know how else to put it, "Her body will decide when she wants to stop eating, and then she will stop drinking, and then that will be all there is to it. You cannot do anything about it. This is the disease and this is how it works. This is 'normal', Christine, and it's ok." She gave me a "What do you mean it's ok, are you crazy?" look. Poor baby. She's so sweet, and so determined not to let this happen, and there's just no way. She's fighting a losing battle and is not at the point where she can accept it. It makes me want to cry that she is trying so hard not to let it happen. Youth. She graduated from college this week, she has succeeded at everything she's put her hand to, she is full of energy and enthusiasm and optimism and a belief that she can "take care of" any problem that comes her way. But this is that hard life lesson where she must be made to realize that we are, indeed, mere mortals, and in the end, death wins. I learned this at age 14 when my brother died. It's a horrible secret, that I wish I could keep from her forever.

I believe in life after death. I have faith in God. I believe He knows all things, sees all things, and is always just and fair. I believe that my Mom is in His hands and I can have peace knowing that He will "take care of it" although we cannot. How could I carry on in this world without believing this? How does my dad manage?


I took an Easter basket down to the home place, filled with the usual holiday goodies, thinking that Mom, Dad, and Christine could share them. One look from Mom told me that wasn't going to happen. She took the basket and headed for the truck where she shut the door and started munching on her favorite, the Peeps. Because the day was fairly warm and we were concerned about her getting hot in the truck, Eric opened the door so she could get some air. She promptly closed it. He started playing with her, opening the door and she reacted by looking him in the eye and shutting it again. It was a losing idea, so we decided the obvious compromise was just to just roll down the window. She was so funny, with her deadpan look; she stared us all in the face and slowly began rolling the window up, watching us the whole time with obvious disinterest. When this was accomplished, she turned and faced forward and started digging through the Easter grass for the malted eggs. It doesn't sound funny now maybe, but it really was at the time. Dad, Eric, and I all laughed at her determination to be left alone with "her" basket. She surely would have had a sugar overdose, except that her hands are unable to unwrap chocolate bars. I think Chris and Dad may have gotten a couple of those, but Mom knew who the basket was "really" for, and she took it. :)

My mom always enjoyed giving us things at Easter, no matter how old we got. And now I'm carrying on the tradition and she will get her Easter basket, no matter how old she gets! I am pretty sure the world would be a better place if everybody gave an Easter basket to someone each spring and received one in return. :) I love you, Mom! Thank you for always remembering us at Easter!