Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar? Who's that?

For someone who has not seen a movie in quite a while, which means I haven't seen any of the movies that were nominated to win, doesn't it seem strange to you that I would have watched the Oscars? I got the buzz on all the movies that have been released this past year and now know which one's I would like to view. Here's my list:
1. Last King of Scotland--I REALLY like Forest Whitaker (He made a huge impression on me when I saw him in the Crying Game!
2. Elizabeth--I think I would really enjoy this movie, it looks like it would be lovely, and I think I might want to see this one on a big screen.
3. Little Miss Sunshine--I like Alan Arkin, this one I could watch on DVD.
4. Pan's Labyrinth-- although I think I might find this movie a bit anxiety provoking and would need to see it on a big screen.
5. I might want to see Dream Girls, but definitely on DVD.

--No, I have no interest in seeing The Departed, but I probably will watch it once it comes out on DVD.

Monday, February 19, 2007

What I remember about the day my mother died.

I was in a sound sleep. My phone rang. I woke up with a start and just knew that something was wrong. What was wrong was either the person calling meant to call someone else; that the person calling meant to call me and because it was the middle of the night it couldn’t be about something pleasant, or chit chatty; or that something bad had happened to someone I care about.

I looked at the clock. It was 4:38 in the morning. I quickly grabbed the phone and said “hulloh.” I heard my sister say “are you awake? I need you to hear me. Mom’s dying.” I asked her to repeat herself, not because I didn’t hear her, but because I didn’t believe her and therefore thought I didn’t hear her correctly. So, she told me the story.

She said that she just got a call from the doctor, who was on duty at the hospital where my mom had been the past week and was getting ready to be moved to a rehab unit in just a few hours, who told her he was “really sorry” and that she needed “to get to the hospital right away”. In fact, she said, he repeated that he was “really sorry” about 3 times. She told me they tried to call me first, but didn’t get any answer. Then she told me she called Carl already. I asked her to “give me a minute” as I sat on my bed trying to get hold of myself and my mind. I did, surprisingly.

Then the caretaker/business woman in me kicked in and I asked her if she called our two brothers, our uncle (my mom’s brother) and our aunt (my father’s sister.) She said she would be okay calling her twin brother but would I call our other brother. I told her I would, and that I would call our aunt. She agreed to call our uncle. I told her I would get my things together and would get to the hospital just as soon as I could. I also told her that I needed to take a shower. She laughed, just a little, because laughing too much would mean that we didn’t care about our mother who was dying, and said, “yes, and you’ll have to brush your teeth too otherwise you won’t be comfortable.”

I reminded her that I would have to make a bunch of phone calls to cancel my patients, and that I would really be there soon. Then I asked her how she was doing. “In shock” she said. I told her I loved her and I would be there very quickly. I also promised her I would drive safely and I would call her from the road and asked her to try to keep her cell phone on. And, if she couldn’t would she call me every so often. What I wanted was a link, a bridge to her and the rest of my family and mostly, a bridge to my mom. Somehow, I thought that if she was in the room with my mom, or within feet of her, that I would feel connected to her. At that moment, I hated that I lived so far away. (It’s only an hour, but right then and there, it felt like a few thousand light years away.)

I told her I loved her probably about a million times during that phone call. And I meant it a million more. I know that we both cried during that phone call too. I think we also told each other that it wasn’t true, we didn’t believe it, and what were we going to do. I also think we both were angry and spit out that it just wasn’t fair. I know I felt like a very little girl who wanted my mommy. I think my sister felt that way too. I also know I didn’t want to hang up the phone; I didn’t want to let my sister go. I didn’t want the space between us to expand.

When we finally did hang up I got busy. I quickly jumped in the shower and took the fastest shower I’ve ever taken in my entire life. And, of course, I brushed my teeth. I put on the most comfortable clothes I could find. I packed what clothes, make-up, vitamins, medicines and whatever else I could think of that I might want for a week. I remember standing in my closet thinking “I should pack something to wear to the funeral” but quickly dismissed that idea because I still didn’t want to believe that my mom was dying. I then ran through all the things I needed to get organized before I left my house. I needed to call my neighbor to arrange for her to care for my cats. I needed to call my patients. And I needed to get safely to the hospital.

I think I was running on automatic pilot. But my energy was running out. I had to sit down. I had to catch my breath. I had to cry. I looked at the clock and it was a more reasonable time. It was close to 6. So I called my neighbor. I told her what was going on. I knew she would understand. Her husband died suddenly of a heart attack just 3 years prior. She assured me she would take care of my cats and whatever else I might need her to do for me while I was away. She told me to drive safely.

By this time, I was packing up my car and telling my cats that I would have to be gone for about a week. I told them what was going on. I think I talked to them because I had to relieve my anxiety somehow and talking to them was a comfort to me. I packed up the bottles of water I had. I threw some fruit, cheese and crackers in my insulated bag. I packed up some chocolate. And I put the remaining cans of soda in my trunk with the rest of the food I packed and locked my door. I remember sitting in my car; just sitting there. I didn’t want to leave. But I put the key in the ignition, started my car and started driving.

I was moving closer to my horrible, nightmarish reality. A reality that I couldn’t put off forever; even though I wanted to. I wanted to run back upstairs to my bedroom and crawl under the covers. I wanted to awaken to the sound of my alarm clock. I wanted to shake my head to clear the horrible memories of a bad dream; a nightmare. One where I get a phone call in the middle of the night from my sister telling me that mom was dying. But I understood it wasn’t a dream. As I was driving I was crying.