I look like my mother. I have my father’s brown eyes, my aunt’s freckles…but my face and my walk are my mother’s. Our faces are heart-shaped. Our noses have the same bump, courtesy of my grandfather. Same eyebrows, same cheekbones, same chin, same mouth, same jawline, same widow’s peak.
When someone who knows my mother meets me for the first time, the response is invariably, ‘You look just like your mother!’ I find that as I get older, I see it even more. I cock my head in the same way she does. When I’m thinking about something, I sometimes find myself covering my mouth with my hand in the same way she always has. Don will sometimes say that I sound just like my mother – usually when I say something in a slightly disapproving manner.
I reflect on all this as I try to cope somehow with a mom who doesn’t seem to want to get better. A mom who is the same, yet different – who doesn’t seem to feel any joy in life anymore. She doesn’t have a disease. She is simply fading away. My sister tells me there is a term used in her work as an OT – failure to thrive. That is the best way to describe what’s going on. How do you make someone care? I speak to her everyday. She just wants to go home. But she can’t until she’s stronger and she can’t get stronger unless she works at it. We discovered that some medications she takes daily had been left off the list when she transferred to the Rehab facility. Once we got that ironed out, we had a day or two of mom acting a bit more like herself. But that was temporary.
I am a funny person and I could always make my mom laugh. Nowadays, if I can get a little chuckle out of her, my heart soars. But that is rare. Meredith took her dog Max (mom adores him) to the facility yesterday. Mom was taken outside to see him and not even the hint of a smile came to her face.
I look like my mother. As I look in the mirror and see her face reflected in mine, I want to will her better, to send all of my energy to her, to grab her and hold her and tell her to stop all this foolishness and fight.
That is the state of things, my friends. A sort of limbo where we see no improvement and which, try as we might, we have no power to change.