Taking a longer view

My mother’s health is failing. Finally, after several years of painful struggle and wishing that things could be different – I’ve not quite lost sight of the woman who was content in her domain and saw the purpose in carrying on – my mother’s light is fading.

In watching this long-drawn out process, taking a longer view, many emotions surface. And though I don’t know on any given day which will be uppermost, and which will lie dormant and sabotage me as I sleep, I know that this period of waiting will simply have to be endured, as all painful things are.

Certainly, there is regret, and a patina of peculiar relief, as we both accept the inevitable: I can’t make things better in the way she would like them to be: herself able and competent, living in France, her son alive, well, and, (in the dream she would have liked) living a happy life… I can’t put back the clock, and I’m not sure, even if I could, that it would be a wise course. Would all the things that have happened in the intervening five or so years have to happen again? I’m not sure we could cope with that.

There is comfort, as there always is, in knowing we have succeeded in coming this far together, in peace, and finally in a clearer understanding.

As a kid and a young adult, I often felt my parents to be remote, living by adult rules and logic to which I was not, nor expected to be, privy any time soon. Now, since I see her most days and have a hand in keeping her affairs in order, I have, I think, proved my claim to be as content, happy and competent in my own life as most of us are: Mum can relax now, knowing that, although I’ll never reach her heights of scholarship or astonishing grasp of detail, there is enough of her in me to ensure that I’ll be okay. Different, but okay.

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