Stellie Pearl's Thoughts......

I Keep Hoping That My Tomorrows Will Catch Up With Yesterday

Saturday, January 30, 2010

You Can Hear Me

I went to visit my mom yesterday. She was sitting in her wheelchair, out in the hallway when I arrived. Luckily, Sandra (my favorite nurse) was working . She knows that mom won't talk to me. Mom, however, has been talking to Sandra.

Sandra came over, and took my mom's hand and said "Katie! Look who's here!" My mom looked up at me and had the angriest look on her face. Sandra kept saying "Look...your beautiful daughter is here to visit you!" No response.

She wheeled mom into her room, and we sat down to talk. "Talk to her," she told me. "She can hear you, even if she isn't answering you".

I started felt strange, because I haven't really talked to mom in a long while. I just kind of gave up because she never would answer me. It was like the flood gates opened....and I talked to her for a half hour.

"Remember all the fun we used to have?" I asked her. "Remember how we tried to string popcorn and cranberries to put on the Christmas tree that one year, and how aggravated we we laughed?"

The more that spilled out of me, the more constricted my throat got. I began to cry.

"Remember all those cross stitch kits we bought and then never used? What about laughing at Dad, always wanting us to use Free Coupons?"

The tears flowed freely down my face. She would make eye contact with me, and then look away. Finally, she turned to look at me, licked her lips, and said in a scratchy voice ""

"Yes!" I cried....."Yes, I'm crying!"

She asked me in the same scratchy voice "Why?"

"Because I miss you, mom. I miss talking to you. I miss all of the things that we used to do, and laugh about. I miss being able to call you after having a bad day at always made me feel better. I miss calling you, telling you about a new recipe that I have tried, or a really good book that I have just read. I miss having you in my life...."

She never answered me. She would look at me, then turn away. After all of that crying, I was spent. It had given me a headache....I was exhausted.

I wheeled her back out into the hall, and told Sandra that I was getting ready to leave. A snowstorm was on its way in, and I wanted to get home before it started. A bad stomach virus is going around the nursing home right now. My mother's roommate is hospitalized because of it. I took some hand sanitizer out of my purse, and took my mother's hands. I cleaned her hands with it, all the while telling her "Mom...there's a bad virus going around. Remember how you and I hate to throw up? Please try to keep your hands clean.....I don't want you to get sick...." Then, I hugged her, and kissed her, and told her that I love her very very much, and that I will see her soon.

That is the most I have spoken to my mom in MONTHS. I have been so hurt, and angry with her. It is like it is all melting away now. I can't go on like this...not going to visit her because she won't talk to me. I will go visit her, and talk to her....she can still hear me....even if she chooses not to answer.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Eighteenth Birthday

There are certain times of your life that really stand out in your memory....some more clear than others. I remember the year that I turned 18. As much fun as it was, there was a little sadness along with it.....

1982 was the year I turned 18. November 20th is my birthday, and if my memory serves me correctly, it fell on a weekday. My mom let me stay out of school. She and I took the train down to NYC to spend the day shopping and eating. I loved the city, especially the shopping! We went to my favorite store, Strawberries. Mom bought me a pair of black suede boots, and some Guess jeans. We ate cheesecake at Lindy's. What a memorable day it was.

That weekend, I had a party at my house. My mom was there. All of my friends came...there was loud music and beer.... everyone was having a blast, until my dad walked in.

My mom and dad legally separated in 1982. In November she had asked him to please move out of the house. He had left, but stopped by the night of my party to pick up my brother to take him with him for the weekend.

My dad walks in....the music stops. Someone has their feet propped up on the coffee table in the livingroom, and as my dad walks by, he pushes their feet off into the floor. There were muffled "Hi, Mr. Mingrone"...."How ya doin' Mr. Mingrone...." but my dad said nothing. He came in, grabbed my brother and a suitcase, then left. I remember at the time feeling embarrassed. My dad could be hateful if he wanted to. But everyone liked him and respected him...he was the band director at our school. A lot of my friends were his students. I know it was hard for him to see his students smoking and drinking beer. But most of all, I felt his disappointment in me. But....this was MY day! I was finally legal....I was drinking, but I was at home! Back then, my mom stood up for me. Where I always felt disappointment in my dad's eyes, my mom was always there for me.

The year went from bad to worse. This was my senior year of high school, and my family was falling apart. I wanted to pretend it wasn't happening, which was hard to do. I don't remember much about the springtime months. My granny, my mom's mom, passed away in June...right at the time of my graduation. I missed my graduation because we flew to West Virginia. My classmates could be cruel, and I was often the subject of untrue rumors. Someone started the rumor that I missed graduation because I got pregnant and had to be sent away.

Turning 18 was exciting as much as it was devastating. Little did I know what lie ahead. For the longest time, I was the only one in our "group" of friends whose parents were still married. Now my family was breaking up, and I was falling apart.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

We Used to Laugh......

(Me & Mom, 1994)

We used to laugh, my Mom and I. We shared the same sense of humor, and found silliness in the simplest things.

I used to laugh at her for cleaning the bathroom "when the mood struck her."...not meaning our bathroom was dirty until she felt like cleaning it, but sometimes when she would be getting out of the bathtub in the evenings. After scrubbing the tub, she would continue to clean the sink, toilet and floor with just a towel wrapped around her. I would knock and enter the bathroom to find her cleaning the mirror with a paper towel, and a her foot on a rag, wiping the floor at the same time. We would crack up, and she would say "I might as well, while I'm in here."

Once, she and I became obsessed with doing cross stitch. I had bronchitis, and missed a week of work. She and I went to a crafts store and bought tons of cross stitch kits and thread. We finished a few things, then put it away. Years later, when we were cleaning out a closet, we found those things.....and laughed until we cried. Oh yes, we were so dedicated in continuing our cross stitch projects....every time we came across another unopened kit, we would laugh harder.

Then, there was the blue shirt. I bought a soft, well-worn used blue Woolrich shirt at a garage sale. It was a mens shirt, so it was big. A soft button-down I would wear around the house on weekends. My mother fell in love with the shirt, so I gave it to her when I moved away. The following Christmas, when she sent my gifts to Florida, in one of the boxes was the blue shirt. There was no note with it.....I laughed until I cried. The next Mother's Day, I sent the shirt back to her. This went on for years, until one of us lost track of the shirt. I can't even tell you where it is to this day. But for a lot of years, it brought us bouts of tear-filled laughter....each one of us thinking about the other.

My father, bless his heart, was a topic of a lot of our shared laughter. Not in a mean way, but some of the things that he said, or the way that he acted was hilarious to me and my Mom. When my brother and I were still young, my Mom would pick us up from school. If it was late in the afternoon, my Dad would be getting ready to drive home at the same time (he was a teacher at our school). My brother would get in my Dad's car with him, I would be in my Mom's car with her. We would be sitting at a stoplight, both cars side by side, and my Mom would look over at my Dad and give him the finger just as the light would be turning green. We would bust out laughing, then she would take off. She always beat my Dad home. My brother would be mad because Dad drove so slow. Another joke we had regarding Dad, was he would never pass up anything FREE. We were all staying in a hotel one time, and Mom and I got up early, and were tiptoeing out of the room to go downstairs for coffee, when my Dad, still mostly asleep, saw us. He started fumbling around on the beside table for the Free Continental Breakfast coupon he had, croaking in his still-sleepy voice "FREE....take these Free.......". Another time, she and my Dad had come down to visit me in Florida. We had gone out for dinner, and I was driving them back to their hotel. My Dad fell asleep in the back seat, and Mom and I were quietly talking in the front. A thunderstorm had just finished, as we passed a field full of cows. "I wonder if cows can be struck by lightening?" I asked my mom, quietly. "OF COURSE THEY CAN!" this voice boomed from the backseat. My sleeping father suddenly awoke, to answer my question. We laughed until I thought we would pass out.

I can't remember the last time that I laughed with my Mom. It has been a very long time. I'm glad that I have the memories. I ache because there will not be any more.

I miss you, Mom, even though you're still here

I can't reach you anymore

Your eyes are open, your heart beats
yet you can't hear my words

When you look at me, your eyes are scared

I hope that you know

how much I love you and

would never hurt you

I wish that you would come back

I miss you and love you

I just hope that you know that

(Me & Mom, 2009)