4:14 p.m. - 2005-07-15
Now I will get back to our Alberta bound trip.
Our day and a half speed visit was coming to a close. And each time I looked around the house I knew that this would be my last look. A huge chapter in my life was coming to a close, in a weird way. This particular chapter hadn’t been ‘lived’ in for a very long time, yet I felt the pangs of nostalgia. And when I looked out the sliding glass doors at the back of the house I looked west across a cow pasture towards the Rockies. I tried to imprint its beauty on my mind. Opening up various ‘ancient’ folders in my memory my eyes fell upon a little copse of trees where, as teens, we built a fort and I’d had my first ‘amicable divorce’ from my first boyfriend after dating a whole month!
A little to the north of that was the Bearberry River, which when you were lying in bed at night you could hear constantly burbling on its merry path. When I was 15 or so, a group of us had been walking on the still frozen (or so I thought) river on an early spring day, and I fell through the ice. Unharmed and laughing I trudged home in soaking wet cloths to change.
Almost directly north and across the rambling creek are there Rodeo grounds. On sunny summer days I would ride my horse “Rocky” into town and meander our way over to the grounds and run him around the tracks. On our way back to his lodgings outside of town we would stop by the creek for a quick drink and then amble away. Man, I loved that horse!
(For those who have been reading me for a while – these Rodeo grounds were also where I did my short stint as Rodeo Queen).
All in all I had very confused feelings about this place that held so much memory – both good and bad. We tend to soften the edges around harsh memories. For me, some of the pain I experienced in this town is still very real, very painful, and possibly I can put some of it to rest when my mother moves from here, and I am no longer obliged to be reminded. And yet . . .
One of the reasons that my mom is moving now is because her health is declining. Although she has many good friends and people who check in on her regularly – there is something more tangible about having family close by. She will be moving up to Jasper, and be ˝ a block away from my oldest brother. He will be able to get a better feel for her care living that close. Back in December she was experiencing blackouts, and consequently received a number of stitches in the back of her head from falling. The Doctor can give no specific reason and in many ways seems unwilling to give instruction, direction, or help. Which is another reason why we want her to move closer to family.
Within the last hour of our time together, I was sitting on the couch, which faces the kitchen. Mom was standing at the sink, and looked to be watching something outside. And as I watched her it appeared that she was following something that was moving upwards, but in fact she was mid faint and her eyes were rolling up to the back of her head – and she blacked out and fell. Thankfully, she fell away from sharp counters and implements, and instead, landed on like a lump on the floor. I rushed over to see if she was ok (a stupid expression – of course she wasn’t ok), and grabbed her arm and lift her head. “Mom, are you OK?” I asked. She bewilderedly looked up and me and asked “What are you talking about?” I said, “You fainted. You’re lying on the floor.” “NO, I’m not.” “YES! You collapsed, and you fell down.” “Oh” says she. “I don’t remember falling.”
I helped her get up, brushed her off, and made sure she wasn’t bleeding. Thankfully she wasn’t, but she was rather shaken up.
I became vastly more clear and confident that this move was timely and needed. With all the troubled waters that have flowed between my mom and I, I knew that this was a mortality check (on her) for me. She was frail, old, and in need of loving like she’s never had before. I may not have agreed with many of the decisions my parents made, but it is my responsibility was and is to honour them. This trip was honouring did that, and I was glad we’d come.
Most of our travel home was spent in silence. I spent much time re-living the moment of her fall, and wondering what would have happened had I not been there. I know you can’t live in “what if’s”, but this situation shook me to my core. She is all right, and doing fine. At 83 she’s just got to learn to slow down a little. I hope I have half her pep if I make it to that age.
And tomorrow, if I find myself with time to update, I will tell you all about trains, planes, and automobiles!