Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sundays Can Just Suck It

It's Sunday and Sunday's are weird and I think of my mother and that's still a strange thing to do. I think of her always as so deeply unhappy although one of my brothers says that she was joyful and I wonder when and how did I miss that? Sure, yes, I can think of moments when she was happy enough I guess, but the underlying denseness of her life seems to me to always be about sadness and depression and outbursts of threatened suicide and I think of the last time I saw her truly alive and how she just kept saying, "I want to die, I want to die, I want to die now," and how when she was doing that crazy sundowner thing in the hospital after she broke her ribs and my brother and I (a different brother) sat with her and tried to calm her and she ordered us to go and get a gun AT A PAWN SHOP (she had thought about this, obviously) and to shoot her with it and when we said, "We can't do that," and I said, "We'd go to jail for the rest of our lives," she said, "I don't care."
It was funny.
It was not funny.

Here's another thing that was not funny and I've talked about this but I am going to talk about it again- when she did die, her worst nightmare came true and she was resuscitated and taken to the hospital because a stupid fucking form wasn't in her chart that the intake person had told me she would make sure was in her chart and it was on the back of her door a few hundred yards away and the damn nurse KNEW Mother didn't want any heroic measures, she knew it, we had discussed it, and she apologized when she called me and had already sent someone to go get that form even though Mother was on her way to the hospital, lines inserted, all sorts of measures being taken to save her life when that was the very last thing she wanted. She had insisted that her DNR orders were with her, physically, when she went to the hospital a month before BECAUSE OF CELLULITIS! And if she did regain consciousness, as the nurse said she did, she had to have been mighty fucking pissed.
Mighty fucking pissed.

We had a little chat with the administrator and the head nurse of the facility and a social worker and another guy after all this happened and that nurse flat out lied or else the nurses under her, the ones on duty when Mother died/was not allowed to die, lied. Lied, lied, lied. And she knew it. She had the notes from the intake person about making sure to get that DNR form from Mother's door in her room and putting it in her chart there at the health center where she was after she came out of the hospital from breaking her ribs. Which that woman (whom I had liked very much) did not do. And we didn't sue them and I didn't make a fuss because who knows? I don't want to be the cause of anyone losing their job. And was wrong.

Well. Yes. All of that happened and when we got to the hospital, Glen and I, and got to that room where a doctor about the age of Owen was overseeing the code, they stopped immediately. They'd already heard from the assisted living, the fax of the form was on the way and all they needed was my say so to stop it and they didn't know me from Eve, from any crazy woman come off the street to stop the code of an old woman who was obviously supposed to be dead.

I wonder how much pain she suffered. Those heroic efforts can be brutal. Well. They just are.

They sure as shit gave her morphine when I got there. "Air hunger" they cited and whatever. She needed it. I kept thinking of that song, Sister Morphine, by the Rolling Stones, I couldn't help it. Yes, I've said all of this before. I'm saying it again. If I was praying (and I was not), I would have been praying to Sister Morphine to take her out without pain and without fear and I think that's what happened. Maybe. Who the hell can know such a thing?

Oh, that was the craziest night and if I told you every inappropriate thing that happened that night you would either laugh your head off or hang your head and cry. Or both. I wrote it all down that night after everyone else had gone to bed and I don't know if I'll ever read it again, that litany of the list of the last moments and afterwards of my mother's death.

Well. It is Sunday.

I worked in the garden pulling weeds and finished listening to Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot and I am so fucking glad that's over. I think I read his The Virgin Suicides and the fact that I can't quite remember says a lot and I have tried repeatedly to read his Middlesex and I cannot and that's it- I'm done trying. There is something about his prose which leaves me cold and unmoved. Why is he so famous? Anyway, I listened to the whole damn thing through miles of walks and many bouts of dishwashing and laundry and sweeping and weeding and I'm done. I am free of that one. I am not even sure what I didn't like about the book. I think it was the dryness, the lack of any sort of wild. It touched on and buried itself in topics which are anything but tame- sex and mental illness and the relationship between parents and grown children and marriage and Mother Teresa, for god's sake! and yet it didn't touch me at all. It was like life-through-glass.
Or maybe not life (and maybe this is the problem) but like an exact replica of life. A formal garden of artificial flowers which look exactly like real ones. Yes. Like that. Through glass.
So no, I do not recommend it.

When I went to dump the weeds where we dump them, I saw something wriggling in the dirt. I went to investigate and it was a baby mammal of some sort. A possum, most likely. Naked and hairless and blind-eyed, and it was squirming in the dirt and I had no idea what to do but here's the sort of person I am- I am a big believer that nature will have its way. The day you find me picking up something like that and bringing it in to put into a cloth-lined box and trying to feed it drops of warmed milk will be a cold, cold day in hell. I will cross a giant store to find the source of a desperately crying baby to see if there is anything I can do but I will not try to nurture a baby possum. But it was something I did not want to see. It was helplessness at its most naked and primal. It was the opposite of a Jeffrey Eugenides novel.
I went back later and it was gone. Either a hawk got it or the mother figured out it was missing and went back to pick it up. I hope for the latter and that may well be what happened. I didn't notice or hear any hawks today. But, whatever. For all I know its mother was the one who ate my chickens.

Really. Too much nature around here sometimes.

Sundays are just weird.

Anyway, I have showered and washed my hair and braided it in two braids- a child's hairdo- and cut and filed my nails which grow so fast and are so strong these days that it practically takes the dog clippers to deal with them. Mr. Moon is on his way home and some friends from out of town are coming over later and I am thinking of what I could bake to serve them a dessert and all I have are frozen blueberries and some apples and pecans and hell, I'm an old hippie, I can do something with those.

It's Sunday and it's been a day of things occurring which I did not expect to occur and I'm going to stop ranting and rambling now. I'm going to go bake something. Something which may or may not involve nutmeg.

Honeys, life is strange and Sundays are the day when Strange is most likely to burst in the door unannounced, tossing his hat to the floor with a flourish.

Well, that's my experience anyway.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Hell of a ride in this one, mama.

  2. I decided we would not leave the house today...I've been pretty pleased with that decision.

  3. Mr. Downtown- Oh sweetie. I know. But so is life. It's okay. I almost called you about fifteen times today but I never did. "I saw a wriggling baby mammal! Ach!" and so forth. I love you.

    Blue Gal- Good idea. Although Sunday's strange will fine you, even at home.

  4. And that was a fine post. I feel all caught up. I agree with you about "The Marriage Plot," but I loved "Middlesex" and was so disappointed when his next was so dull. I loved your interpretation, though -- that would be how I'd describe Ian McEwan's novels, I think.

  5. Elizabeth- If I can't taste a little of your blood, smell a little of your sweat, I can't relate. You know?

  6. I love that about Eugenides: that it lacks something wild. You put your finger on something there. I need to think about that a little more, because it feels so true (and not just about J.E.).

    In church today (and this is a super liberal church), the lay reader talked to us about Sodom and Gonorrhea. And I laughed like a mofo. Also, I wore a dress that I'd just finished sewing this morning and sat down exactly on a pin that I'd forgotten to take out and said "FUCK!" rather too loudly. Whatever, Jesus is already dead and stuff. I'm not too worried.

    So glad you're out there, Mary.

  7. I had a lazy day. lazy where I tried to get things done and wasn't successful. So I read a lot on the Internet and went from one blog to another. Somehow I got to May's blog and read about the day she spent with you mother after she broke her ribs and then went back to your entry writing about her death. And now you write this. At first I didn't know why it felt so odd but just now I realize that I had just read May's entry for the first time today. I don't know what all that means except maybe I was thinking of you today and knowing that Sundays are hard for you. Not sure. Sweet Jo

  8. Sara- Well, I'm so glad you're HERE and reported in. Awesome story about Jesus being dead and all. Ha! Too true.

    Angella- And I love you too. So that works out rather well.

    Sweet Jo- If I had one wish, it would be that May start to write more where we can all read it. Her writing is amazing. Ah. Sundays. We live through them. We do. Somehow.

  9. Sweet Mary-Some day maybe you can let that awful day go by, leave it be. I know it hurts your heart.

    I'm holding you from here.

    Middlesex-I'm with you. Couldn't finish it. I'm reading Anil's Ghost by MIchael Ondaatje, gorgeous-he's a poet so maybe that's why.

  10. Beth Coyote- Well, you know. Some things are just never going entirely leave you. It's not a huge traumatic memory. Just a really powerful one.
    Thanks for the book recommendation. I am getting so picky in my old age.

  11. I can think of lots of sad things surrounding the death of the parents. My dad not so much because he simply went to sleep and died. My mother not so much either because she was happy and 95 and was writing and fell out on the bed. My MIL--very sad at the end because of dementia. My FIL--sad because he gave up and had to be in a nursing home which makes me realize that he might have given up when he realized that he wasn't going back home to live. That haunts me.

  12. i almost had to go to court to fight for my grandmother's right to die on her own terms. i can't even put into words how off and wrong it was to have to almost do that and the denial of everyone else but me in the equation.

    on an unrelated note, i drove through the neighborhoods that inspired the 'virgin suicides' book the other day.


  13. I keep reading posts from the homebirth people on facebook, and it makes me dwell so much on my last, unnecessary farce of a birth. And I think about my mother's death a lot, and how wrongly that all went. And today, about my sister accusing me of plotting with my husband to scatter my mother's ashes without letting her be involved, snatching them out of her hands as it were. She really did. Is she crazy? Where does she get this idea of me from?

    Ach. My only real question is: how do we lay this shit down? The replaying helps nothing! It just makes me feel awful, and anxious, and miserable and misfortunate. Why me, why me... how to stop? That is what I asked myself today.

  14. Well, here it is Monday already, and it feels like Sunday which is strange in and of itself.

    Your story about the night your mother died is, as a friend of mine would say, some serious shit. God almighty. I run around with so many copies of my mom's forms, that the last time she was in the hospital, my daughter in an effort to make me laugh, suggested that I keep still more extras in various body cavities. I just might.

    Might best friend's mom from high school had a big DO NOT RESUSCITATE tattoo put right on her chest. Made the national news. Big doin's for small town Iowa.

  15. Might = My
    wtf I just took some Beano. Now the gas is in my brain.

  16. What a roller coaster! Wow! I really liked "Middlesex" but I've heard people say that Eugenides' other books since haven't measured up.

    I think you were right about the possum, hard as it probably was to leave it there.

    As for your mom, I'm sorry you've had to relive all that in your mind. Sometimes I wish we could have bits of our memories erased, like in the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." On the other hand, that didn't turn out so well, did it? (I don't really remember the details...) Anyway, hopefully your meetings and the review process resulted in the hospital and nursing facility being more careful about its protocols regarding DNR requests. I'd like to think SOMETHING good came out of all that, you know?


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.