"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Monday, September 21, 2009

Moving Forward

I spent the better part of the day cleaning out my supply cabinet which has been jam packed with legal pads, stationary, markers, notebooks, folders, computer disks, legal research books, carry folders and miscellaneous office supplies. I got a lot done.

The girls seemed sleepy, all day. Here's Pearl:

Evelyn pretty much zonked out for hours while I puttered in the office.

I clanged things around and she barely lifted her head.

I found some old pictures of me from nearly ten years ago. I looked like a baby - if a forty something year old woman (at the time) could look like a baby.

I use individual spiral notebooks for each case and have several unopened packages that I packed away. I also sorted through notebooks that have only been used lightly. While I was doing that, I came across a notebook that I used to keep notes when my mother was so sick in 2007. I found my notes from our first telephone conversation after they detected some troubling spots on her lungs. The spots were eventually diagnosed as where the cancer had metastasized from her ovaries but at the time, we didn't know. I didn't know anything about cancer and I can see from my notes that mom really didn't understand what was happening to her. In my notes, I quoted her, repeatedly, and didn't know enough, at the time, to realize that what she was saying didn't make sense. As it turned out, the facts she was giving me were pretty accurate but her understanding of what those facts meant was sadly optimistic. Some of the things she told me, I have come to realize, were clearly never suggested by a doctor although she attributed some rather wildly fanciful treatment options to him. I don't think either one of us could have been able to grasp at that time that she was dying.

It was a sobering discovery and I took a break from packing up office supplies to just remember those days. My mother had a sweet, child-like streak and I think one of the hardest parts of the process of losing her was when she would occasionally ask hard questions - questions I didn't really know how to answer.

One day she asked me how she was going to die - specifically. I think, "How will the cancer kill me?" were her exact words. I tried to share with her what I had researched but almost immediately realized that she didn't really want anything graphic. I think she must have been very frightened but she didn't dwell on it or give in to it. As soon as I realized that she wasn't prepared for a discussion of potential organ failure, I did some tap dancing and back stepping and ended up making something up, if memory serves. And I don't feel one bit bad about lying to her because even though I personally would want the truth, Mom didn't - not really. Or maybe she just didn't want to hear the truth from me or have that sort of discussion with her daughter. I think she wanted me to tell her that she was not going to die, that she was going to get better, that she would not have to go through that door.

Notwithstanding her understandable desire to avoid facing her death, my mother died with exquisite dignity. She was very brave.

After I spent a bit of time in my memories, I shook it off, threw the notes in the trash and went back to packing up office supplies.

Evelyn slept through it all. Take a look at that topknot!

I found a fortune cookie in my purse, opened it and set it in front of Evelyn while she was sleeping.

If Pearl had been there, she'd have snatched it up, quick as a snake.

It took a couple of minutes and some nudging the cookie towards her, but eventually, Evelyn became aware that there was food nearby.

I should have taken a "before" picture of my supply cabinet. It was jam packed. Most of the things I've left won't be making the trip back home to Oklahoma.

I have court tomorrow and the next day but primarily will be closing cases. I have only ten open cases left. Look! This is all there are!!

Here is another Sylvia's Bridal Sampler block in progress. It is Cut Glass Dish and those half square triangles will be one inch squared when finished. I think they are as much seam allowance as sub-block.

Tonight, I plan to have a glass of wine and toast my mom. And I will think about my father and grandparents and brother and sister and friends who have gone on before me. Including Jezebel. And while I miss them and would love to hug them, again, I can't, right now. But I can let their memories enrich my life and remind me to enjoy the ones who are still with me, and the ones who may yet come into my life bringing love and laughter.

Sorry to get so sappy - and I haven't even broken out the wine!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing.

Mary said...

Thanks for sharing about your Mom. I can't believe how Evelyn is laying on the rung of the chair. It's funny to see where animals curl up and sleep.

elsie123 said...

Nothing sappy about it. Sometimes we just need to sit back and remember. While there may be a tear or two shed, or none at all, we don't want to forget.

ranette said...

Very touching Penny....it's good to look back and reminisce.

Even in her sleep Evelyn is majestic!

The SBS block is lovely.

Stephanie D. said...

Thanks for sharing the story about your mom. It's so scary not to feel in control. She needed to hear lies; the truth is hard enough.

I love how Evelyn didn't even raise her head to get the fortune cookie--just a little stretch of the neck and tongue and ZAP--cookie's gone. I have lazy days like that!