I call my mom everyday at lunchtime. It’s our time and we fondly refer to this hour as “lunchtime chats.” These actually started when I began my first job and realized I had a lunch hour everyday but not necessarily someone to spend this hour with. My mom became just that person. During lunchtime chats she hangs out with me on the phone while I run errands, order coffee, go for an afternoon walk or sometimes even eat my lunch. Our conversations vary and I can usually tell by the tone of her voice, either carefree or a slight hint of stress that only a daughter could pick up on, how she is feeling on a certain day.
Today when I called she was a little uneasy. A friend was coming to pick her up and realized her walker was in my Dad’s car and she couldn’t get ahold of him. Mom also started talking about feeling nervous because she is just scared. She didn’t say what she is scared of but I know. We all know. It’s a silent understanding. She is afraid to fall and afraid of not being able to get up.
My mind almost felt paralyzed becuase I felt so sorry for her. I wanted to fix it. I wanted to solve this problem. I wanted to say the right thing so badly. This is the third day I have written these words and I am beginning to notice a pattern. But I can’t fix it. I can’t fix it because logistically I am not in the same city. I also just cannot fix this. I also had a hundred thoughts flooding my head because I didn’t know what to say. Do I try to comfort my mom, I tried rattling off the list of her worries and discussing each one but I knew that fear in the back of her mind was too great and preventing her from being rational. So instead of drawing it out and making both of us frustrated I got off the phone. It ended pleasantly, I told her it would all work out and not to worry. I did this because all I could think was I don’t know what to say or do, I should probably just get off the phone before I end up frustrated and stressing her out more. It has bugged me all afternoon because I don’t know if I did the right thing but I also don’t know that it was the wrong thing.
My mom’s fear of falling is very real because it has happened. I can feel her uneasiness when we are out in public, I watch as she is very careful and very focused, not moving too quick, making sure every movement is calculated. I can feel it and it makes me feel sad. Sad because she is sad. Sad because her life has changed. Sad because I can’t fix it.
But, I can continue to be there. Continue to have our treasured lunchtime chats and continue to talk about these things and help as much or as little as I can. Maybe I help more than I realize. It’s interesting how I never know when I am successful in helping but always definitely know when I am unsuccessful. I come from a loud family of all girls. There is never a question if someone is unsuccessful in helping. Everyone knows because they can hear it!