i call my mother 1 or 2 times per day. the irony is before she was diagnosed with dementia she called me 1 or 2 times per day. she was worried about everything. me living on campus at college. me moving to an apartment with roommates. the day i moved 160 miles away from her to attend graduate school in washington, dc, she never was quite the same again. i never went back to live in southern new jersey despite my promises. she doesn’t remember to call me now. as soon as i get home from work. before eating or taking my nightly dose of meds, i call my almost 81 year old mother.
my mother always answers the phone. she is usually crying. i think she must know she is not the same. my mother worked as a seamstress in a dry cleaners chain until age 76. the affluent people in town came only to my mother to shorten the sleeves of their Chanel jackets. hem the pants of their $1000 Gucci blouses. my mom’s customers loved her. my mom loved the attention.
now my father is usually her only company. i am usually her only phone call. my mother has outlived siblings, nieces and nephews, friends, and former customers. i visit her once per month on the weekend which she forgets an hour later. the only hope i have is that she does not have to experience the pain of anyone else dying before her.