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.