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.