A Memorial to My Mom
I was reading an old post of Dancing Bear's this morning about sayings his mom had. It was great and it got me thinking about a saying my mom used. This is funny and sad at the same time so bear with me.
At one point in her life, mom had five of us running around the house that she tried to wrangle alone. No dad in the house to help her. She didn't whip anyone very often, but when she did she meant business. I think I only had two whippings from her ever. I knew from those two that I didn't want any more so I tried very hard to be the "good kid". I distinctly remember as she would start hitting you with the switch, which by the way, hurt like hell, she would start talking to you while she did it. "I've told you a hundred times (whack whack whack) not to do that anymore (whack whack whack) and I didn't want to do this (whack whack whack) and I want you to know (whack whack whack) that this hurts me worse than it hurts you (whack whack whack)!"
Are you kidding me? You just beat the crap out of me and you really want me to believe it hurts you worse than it hurts me? No freaking way!
As we all got grown and would sit around the dinner table talking, we would laugh about that and she always stood her ground. She told us that she only ever had one whipping in her life and she had not intended to whip us, but we were such little hellions that she had to do something. She was right. We were all little hellions and we needed way more whippings than we got. We all adored her and agreed that she should probably have whipped us every morning just because we got out of bed or something.
I was in my late 30's when mom was diagnosed with cancer. Mom had stopped going to the doctor for anything when my youngest sister was born which meant she hadn't been to one in almost 30 years at that point. She was afraid of them. She never went much before that other than to give birth. She had all sorts of home remedies for everything.
After being in and out of the hospital with the cancer, she had decided that she wasn't going back. She came home to die but at that point she was still coherent, still mom. I was kind of the "nurse" of the family so I had to learn to do the things that needed to be done for her in order for her to stay at home. One of them was to give her blood thinner shots in the stomach. The needles were preset so all you had to do was open it up, pop the cap off of the needle, and give her the shot. Not a big deal, right? Wrong! Mother was like a child with this. I generally stayed with her all night and then went home in the mornings to sleep. However, even though my sister and my aunt had learned to give her the shots, she had decided that I did it with the least amount of pain, so it was my job. This meant that I went home for a few hours and had to be back midday to give her the shot. Ok, that's fine, I'll get up, run over and give her her shot and get back home. Not that simple. I would get there and she would have fifteen reasons why I needed to wait another minute.
"Mother, you are supposed to get this shot at a certain time every day and it's getting way past that time," I would say. "Well, I just need to do this" or "I just need to do that," she would tell me. After an hour or so of this on a daily basis I would finally get her "wrangled" to the couch. She would take one of the small pillows from the couch and put it over her face so she wouldn't see it coming. She would look so much like a child I would get tickled and start laughing and then she would get tickled and I would pop the shot in quick while she was laughing. I know it hurt and she would be laughing and then say "Dammit, that hurts." and when she would take the pillow away she would have tears streaming down her cheeks. I would wipe her tears and hug her real tight and tell her how sorry I was.
One day when I went to do it, she was in a bad mood and knowing the shot was coming made her even worse. She was really being ugly to me about it. I stood over her with the needle ready, and when she put her pillow over her face, my tears started and I said "Mom, I just want you to know that having to do this hurts me worse than it hurts you." I popped the shot in. I didn't get the usual "Dammit, that hurts." When she let the pillow down, she was laughing and crying so hard she could hardly catch her breath. We hugged and cried hard that day.
I think because I was always kind of the "tough girl" personality that she had thought it didn't bother me to give her those shots, just like I had thought as a child that it didn't really hurt her to whip me. When I used her own line on her that day, she understood that it really did hurt me as bad as it hurt her, and I used the line because I realized that it really had hurt her to whip us. From then on, the shot ordeal went much smoother. It was a mutual "hurt" session for us and we worked at it together.
I know I talk about my mom a lot here. She's been gone almost thirteen years and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about her. She was truly my best friend and I was horribly traumatized by the way she died. Writing about it helps a lot, so thank you all so much for reading my posts about her. I hope if your mother is still alive that you hug her every chance you get and think about all the things she did for you to get you to where you are today. On this Memorial Day, I memorialize my mother, who fought many long battles to raise five children on her own.