Saturday, September 28, 2013

ma mere/my mom

It hadn't dawned on me how challenging the past 28 hours were until I heard ma belle describe it to her parents. My in-laws/belles-parents are visiting this weekend. My mom was supposed to come over to 'have tea' with her mom as they seem to get along and have had an email relationship since the families merged through marriage (oh les Fran├žaise !). My mom couldn't come today because she had a pacemaker put in late yesterday afternoon. Originally I wasn't worried because I have every confidence in the Heart Hospital she was in - of course, it's the same one I go to. They are routine procedures and dozens per week are performed. She even returned home late last night. I visited this morning and she looked awful. This fact, and other details, are what ma belle shared with her parents. It really bothered me and let her know that it was private. I reflected on why I feel so defensive of my mother - me who will share details about anything - and realized that I wanted to protect her dignity. My in-laws, despite being related, didn't need to imagine her in a weak state. I am my mother's daughter and we both have a hard time asking for help. She certainly didn't want to bother any of her children so I'm very glad that when I called her after my morning meeting I decided to 'pop' by despite her saying she was okay. When we got there I could see the pain in her eyes but also the gratitude.
It's really affecting me as, it's late in the day and I've tired myself enjoying my in-laws. It takes a whole lot of mental energy translating French all afternoon and though I understand it fairly well, at the speed and rate they speak it, it's amazing I catch most of what's said. Then to contribute right back is no small effort. So, as I retreat back to English land, the intimacy I shared with my mother (her letting me help her) is hitting me profoundly. Here I am, all tubed up, with months to go, helping my 72 year old maman and I feel sad I can't do more.