Drinking the Kool-Aid

A nurse at the Alz center called last week just to give me a Bonnie update. Mom had been participating in a painting activity – a somewhat rare event – and at some point, she picked up a cup of paint and took a sip of it. The paint was nontoxic and the nurses loaded Mom up on water to flush out her system. There were no lasting effects. But it was something I should know, so they called me.

Poor Mom. When things like this happen, I can’t get any additional details, usually, because whoever witnessed it isn’t the one telling me about it. Mom’s behavior didn’t change as a result of this. I asked if she realized her error and spit it out. Nope. She swallowed the paint. The nurse said this opened up an opportunity to discuss with the activities staff a new way to store paint during activities. “It’s thinned down and in a cup so it looks like Kool-Aid,” the nurse said.

I haven’t had a chance to see Mom since. But she was heavily on my mind Sunday. Patrick and I are taking a meditation class – or, really, we’re participating in a community meditation each week. But for me, it’s sort of like a class, as meditation is new to me and Buddhist teachings are even newer. So we do some reading from various texts as well as sit together through two sessions of half-hour meditations, some guided and some not. And then we discuss the practice. I am enjoying this and am learning a lot about what meditation is and is not. And I have been sleeping very well on Sunday nights after these sessions.

This past Sunday, the mother of a group member attended for the first time since I have been around. And it made me think that were this 10 or 12 years ago, my mom would probably have been interested in giving meditation a try. She took on lots of new things as an adult – tap dancing, accounting, Trager method massage, poetry, various types of therapy. She and some of her friends formed what they called the Inkling Club; at their meetings, they would read their own written works to each other. She enjoyed intellectual pursuits and was certainly someone who could benefit from trying new relaxation techniques.

I tried not to stare at the mother at meditation. I didn’t want to be rude. But her presence triggered in me some powerful thoughts about what could have been with Mom. I miss her so.

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5 comments so far

  1. jennifer jayhawk on

    Wow, interesting post. My husband and many of my friends have done meditation. My husband does Tai Chi which includes this practice.

    I’m just uncomfortable in group situations as I have always been. Our Church is pretty much Southern Baptist. I grew up Presbyterian. I cannot sing a note and raising my hands is not in my comfort level. I’m just that midlife woman with grey roots.

    I am totally going through withdrawals of not being able to call my Mom and talk to her on the phone.

    I miss my Mom also. I am at the mercy of my brother’s updates.

    You are an amazing writer. Love your posts!!!

  2. Laura on

    I’d forgotten about Inkling Club. Thanks for the wonderful reminder!

  3. momsbrain on

    Jennifer, I’m sorry you are missing the opportunities to talk on the phone with your mom. I remember when my mom stopped using the phone, and it was yet another loss. And those always hurt. Thanks for being so complimentary!

    Laura, I’m sure I left out other things Mom pursued, but I always thought the Inkling Club was a great little thing that she did. I know I’ve got lots of her writings in the basement, and someday I want to dig them out. But I don’t feel ready yet.

  4. Jeff on

    It’s an interesting coincidence about this post. During the minister’s sermon at the first service on Easter morning, something he said triggered a thought/memory/wish in me, and I thought about how I missed having a mom, and started crying. I tried to be subtle and non-distracting, but it wasn’t just a little bit of teariness welling up – I had several big ol’ tears rolling down my face. I put my head down and took off my glasses to try to conceal it from my colleagues and the congregation. And I didn’t tell Laura about it (who came to the second service) or Tom until much later.

  5. momsbrain on

    Oh, Jeff, that’s a tough time for something like that to happen. But I think anyone would understand that we can’t predict what will trigger sadness, and there is certainly no shame in having a cry. I am guessing you didn’t want to talk about it until you felt certain it wouldn’t trigger another cry – but maybe I’m wrong about that. And it sucks to have a living mom who can no longer be a mom.


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