Forced Perspective

Momma  You know those scenes in any number of science fiction movies where the hero (or, if it’s toward the end of the film, the villain) falls into some vortex and spins ’round and ’round, getting smaller and smaller until s/he vanishes from sight?  That’s my mom.  Some days, it feels like me, too, and there isn’t much to be done about it.

Yesterday was one of the bad ones.  I’d returned home from an overnight away (a sorely needed chance to do something fun) and despite a determination to not go visit until today, something said, “Go see your mother.”  I walked in to find her struggling to get out of bed with a couple of aides trying to prevent her from hurting herself.  She was crying, very distressed, and in a lot of pain from her leg and the back issue that no one seems able (or willing) to fix.  “I kept calling and calling,” she sobbed.  “And no one came.  It hurts so much, I had to do something.”  It took a long time to calm her down.  We got her into her wheelchair and gave her some pain medication.  Once that kicked in, she began to cycle into a quieter place in her mind, although there was break-through crying because, as she puts it, “I just do that, I don’t know why.”

Before anyone gets all riled thinking my mother is being ignored at the nursing home, I don’t believe that’s the case.  (Better not be, or Hell will prevail.)  My mom has a very, very soft voice which doesn’t carry over the general noise in a place like that.  They couldn’t hear her.  Doesn’t make it easier for her to explain that because, of course, she can’t really understand.  She thought she was being ignored.  She thought no one cared.  She thought she was home and “people were walking by on the road and they could see me, but didn’t come when I called.”  You get the idea.

Anyway, we got her settled and they left and I piled blankets atop her (she’s cold all the time now) and we talked and hugged and I reassured her the way you would a small child and she cried now and then (which kills me, it truly does), and talked some more, and she was basically okay when I left 90 minutes later.

This isn’t about me – really, it isn’t – but there are times when I feel every one of her 91 years.


Speaking of 91 years, Mom had her birthday on Saturday.  THANK YOU to my Uncle Paul (Mom’s brother) and Aunt Doris Sherman, my sweet dear friend of 45+years Wendy Lightner Carofano, and my cousins Rebecca Graham and Ellen Martin for taking time to remember her with cards and notes.  You made her feel loved and cared for.


About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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