Mondays with Mom: Communication


First of all, let me thank you for your prayers and concern for Mom after her fall last week. She broke her right arm just above the elbow. We’ll have a long recuperation. It could have been much, much worse so we are very grateful that all the other bones stayed together!

In the days following her fall, the pain medicines really took a toll on her mind. She was quite incoherent for a couple of days. She finally began to come back to us 24 hours after stopping the prescription medicine. It made me realize how much we take her communication for granted.

Mom was always great at communication. As a teenager, it would irk me how she could strike up conversations with total strangers as we shopped or waited in lines. Now I appreciate it because I do the same thing – much to the chagrin of my own children! She never had any difficulty getting to know new people which allowed her to make friends in all of the new places she was stationed with Dad. Mom was a stay-at-home mother, but she always had close friends and lots of connections in the community. She wrote letters and talked on the phone. She visited friends in their homes or nursing homes or hospital beds. She taught Bible studies and Homemaker’s meetings. She had a gift for making people feel better and warm in her presence.

These days communication is much different. Mom’s focus doesn’t always allow her to find the words that she needs. She has a difficult time hearing so often she loses the thread of the conversation when more than two people are present. She is also easily distracted. She still wants to participate and will sometimes blurt out an idea that doesn’t connect. It doesn’t matter, though. We’re just glad to hear her voice.

Mom sits in silence much more now. She is okay with the silence and I’m learning to accommodate her. Silence is tough for me. (I can hear my friends saying “amen.”) She’ll fold and unfold her tissues and pack and repack her purse. She doesn’t want to listen to music often so most of the time the only sounds are the refrigerator and the clocks sounding the hour.

My brother, John, is here today. The original plan was for him to go fishing with Dad, but since Mom’s fall, Dad isn’t sleeping well. Mom perks up a lot when John talks to her and John is a wonderful companion for her, encouraging her to eat and taking her for a walk to the front door. It is fun for me to watch her interact with him. He says how much he loved to hear her laugh. They converse about pecan trees and recipes. Mom is very lucid when talking about things not situated in a certain time or place. When she is tired, she simply drops the conversation. John understands. I wish he lived closer so he could visit more often.

Recently, Dad found a card I had made for Mother’s day 1975. It was on cream big writing paper and worn from many years of being folded to fit in an envelope. I had filled the whole page with careful cursive and had drawn a big orange and red sun to illustrate. The text simply stated:

To Mother:

She’s always sewing buttons on

Or mending things I tear

Whenever I come home from school

I always find her there.

She’s always doing little things

That please me very much

Like baking cake and planning trips

To park and zoos and such.

She’s always reading stories too

Or teaching me a game

And whether I’ve been bad or good

She loves me just the same.

I miss her. I miss her conversations. Dad misses their talks a thousand times more. This is the hardest part of all.

I know many of you understand. Thank you for your words of love and support to me and Dad and my whole family. You are appreciated so much!

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