Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pity Party

The hardest thing about visiting my mother every day is responding to her self-pity.

The wheel chair, the lack of memory, the incontinence I can deal with, cheerfully.

Today I brought her to my house; we ate pumpkin pie and played with the dog.

As I started to put the dishes away and prepared to take her back to the car, this was her comment:

"At least you came to see me. Maybe you'll come again some day."

"I come every day, Mom!" I said. "You don't believe that, do you?"

"I guess you do," she answered. "But it seems like such a long time before you come."

It's never enough.

Most days when I leave her, whether it has been an hour visit or a six-hour outing, she says, "You'll come back tonight and put me to bed, won't you?"

"No, I can't come back," I say. "I need to cook dinner for John." Or "I need to grade papers for my class."

"Oh, of course, you need to take care of John," she says, reluctantly recognizing that I have a few people in my life besides her.

I leave feeling miserable, unable to shake the feeling that no matter how much I do, it is not enough. She is voracious.