I would carry you up the tallest hill   1 comment

her breathing was loud and rhythmic. each breath seemed like the ticking of a timer. counting down. for the first 15 minutes i watched the clock right above her to see what minute and second would be the last breath. after 3 hours of sitting and listening i gave up.

my mind wandered for a little bit. i was digging through the memories, trying to pull out and look at as many as i could to try to dim the one i was a part in creating in this moment. the one that is most vivid. the one where there is an oxygen mask pulled tight over her nose and mouth, her hair stringy and matted down, her head cocked slightly back and off to one side. a broken-down shell of a body that would finally completely break down in a matter of minutes, or hours.

i drifted off… i could see her face when she and my dad gathered us all together to tell us we would have a baby sibling soon.

when i was back in the room i realized i was tapping my feet and my hands to the beat of her breathing.

dad was a rock. i was a mess. i tried not to cry in front of the nurses and the doctor.

i wanted to touch her. i hadn’t touched her in years. this was my last chance. i put my hand on her forehead. and then got to the bathroom as fast as i could, and sobbed.

my sister got there. she drove 3 hours through the night, and snow, and wind. by now it was 3 am and i was so tired. i just didn’t know if i really wanted to see the breathing stop.

…I was very young. It was sometime before before ten years of age. I don’t know what my problem was but I was quiet and somber. That was unlike me. I was a happy kid. My mom noticed. Maybe everyone noticed but it was my mom who came to me one Saturday and said she was taking me to lunch. Just me. That had never happened before. With 4 siblings you just don’t go to lunch alone with mom or dad. She took me to Friendly’s on Ridge Road by the mall. She bought me a burger. I could have it any way I wanted it. I also got a milkshake.

…Mom owned a Chevrolet Chevelle. I think it was a ’74. I bought a ’72 Chevelle when I was 21. Mom got me into muscle cars. I remember saying once that I thought horses were dumb and I didn’t care if they all ran off a cliff. Mom asked me, “What if they were all Chevelles driving off a cliff?”

3:00AM Dad says I should go home and go to bed. He thinks I will be going to work in the morning. Not a chance.

…I was in the living room. I sat on something. I don’t remember what it was. Probably an ottoman. That day it was a tractor. Mom was in the kitchen. I was too young for school so I was home playing. My tractor was in front of one of the chairs in the living room. That way someone could get in the tractor with me. Mom left her stuff in the kitchen and got in my tractor. I got to drive.

I decided to leave. I got up, hugged dad and told him I loved him, I hugged my sister. I kissed my mom’s forehead. It was colder… much colder. I said goodbye very quietly. And left. I put my head down so the nurses wouldn’t see my crying. I passed their station quickly. They were all laughing loudly about some story one was telling.

I wish Jesus sat on a throne at the top of a very tall hill. I wanted to pick my mom up and carry her. I wanted to carry her til I had no strength left. I knew I would make it though. No one would have the strength and endurance it would take to carry her up. No one but her eldest son. I would carry her and place her at the feet of Jesus and give her to Him to watch over and care for until I would return some day. I wanted to do this so she knew that I loved her more than anything. Because I’m not sure she knew that. I wanted a chance to prove it. A trial. A test that all would fail, except her strongest son. She would know that I loved her as much as anyone in this world has ever loved her.

Christa, my sister stayed. At 5:19am my mom’s breathing stopped. Christa checked her pulse. Mom was gone.

It has been many years since the dementia started. At first it was using wrong words for things. Ultimately it would become silence, then her body would start shutting down. She was in her late forties when it started. I didn’t have my mom when I was an adult, but I had her when I was a child, and that is all that matters to me.

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Posted February 20, 2013 by john b in Uncategorized

One response to “I would carry you up the tallest hill

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  1. John, I am so sorry. Your post is beautiful.

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