Reunion: Part 2

June 2, 2009

Yesterday morning was very unpleasant. In fact, after an unscheduled visit from the hospice nurse I called Alicia and told her that it may be time to resign ourselves to a new reality that we had all been hoping very hard would not present itself so soon.


The Williams and the Clarks arrived for lunch at around 1PM on Monday, and despite some extreme discomfort that I think had lingered from earlier in the morning, mom clearly enjoyed some special time with her friends.

Meanwhile, the hospice nurse had contacted mom’s doctor and had arranged for a new medication that my dad picked up from the pharmacy at around 4:30.

By 6:30, it was a whole new day.

Mom became “chatty”.

She ate.

She agreed to let us take her outside in the wheelchair to enjoy an unusually mild June evening and even visited with Mrs. Garabedian from across the street.

When we returned to the house to settle in for the night, mom took charge of the remote control and engaged my dad and I with a little small talk. I think it’s fair to say that we all had some fun just sitting in the family room and watching TV together. (The previous night I do not think she had the dexterity to use the remote control, much less the presence of mind to have any interest in watching television).

But my favorite moment was when I got “the look”.

As members of the Quilt may already know, my mom has a “look” that only presents itself under certain conditions (“Code Red”). On this particular occasion late last night, my enthusiastic “support” had crossed the line between a son and his mother, cancer or not, that does not get crossed. I am to be “attentive” though not “directive”.

Suddenly, that look that I’ve known all of my life returned on her face and mom said clearly, without hesitation “if you say so, your patronizing, self”.

Now, if you are not fluent in “Jackson”, the only parallel I can use to translate this comment is when the Dog Whisperer demonstrates the role of the pack leader (can you tell we’ve been watching a lot of TV?).  My collar suddenly felt a little tighter; I had been reminded of my place in the pack.

In shock, I looked at my dad who had already broken a big smile along with my mom, and soon we were all enjoying a late-night chuckle.

Howard Joseph


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