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First, I want to say thank you to everyone for your kind words of support about my mother. When you get a call late at night saying that this may be the last time you get to see your mother alive, you tend to panic. The events of the last week certainly have “put my pacemaker in high gear”.

Oh my, where do I start? Well, my mom had a stroke and a fall. We’re not sure which came first, the stroke or the fall but she has bleeding on a couple of spots in her brain. The doctors were also rather concerned about the possibility of her developing pneumonia as she aspirated some vomit during one of the seizures she had when she got to the hospital.

She’s spent this week in the neurological observation unit and I won’t know if she will be stable enough to step down to a regular hospital room until the end of the week. Lise and I plan to travel back to Ottawa this weekend so I should know more in a few days.

Ok, so I have my mom in the hospital almost 800 kms away and I’m scheduled to go in for surgery on my shoulder next week. I have a pinched nerve in my back (which makes driving for 10 hours particularly delightful) and I’m supposed to have my new roof installed next week. Valium anyone?

This has been quite the emotional week for me. My mom has suffered the last few of years with dementia so when I call her she doesn’t often know it’s me she’s talking to. She thinks she’s talking to one of her sisters and that makes it hard because when my aunt asks her if she’s heard from me she says she hasn’t talked to me in years then I’ll get a call from my aunt scolding me for not calling my mother. (sigh)

Mom does have moments of lucidity but 90% of the time you have to repeat things over and over because she doesn’t remember things. They say that people with certain types of dementia can remember things from their past like it was yesterday but can’t remember what they had for breakfast today. My mom, sometimes can’t remember things from the past either. I was surprised that she even recognized me when I saw her at the hospital.

From what my brother said on the phone, as we drove to Ottawa, Lise and I were not sure what we’d be walking into. We didn’t know what to pack so just in case we brought “funeral clothes”. All I kept saying to myself as we traveled each kilometer was, “Mom, hang on, don’t die, I’m on my way.” I just wanted to see her alive one more time, even if it was only for 5 minutes, just to tell her that I love her and always have.

Mom and I spent several years estranged when I came out to her and she tried to have my kids taken from me. My mom is not a bad person it’s just that she became a Catholic charsimaniac and for several years I simply couldn’t reason with her. We finally patched things up about eight years ago but things remained rather strained.

We’ve never been a family that talks things over let alone express how we feel so in a lot of ways we are like a bunch of strangers where the only thing we have in common is that we survived being stranded on a deserted island. It’s kind of sad when you think about it. I’ve waited almost 50 years to hear my mother tell me that she loves me. When I left her, she held my hand, kissed me and told me she loved me and while that was so very good to hear it also makes me very sad. Sad that I only hear this now that she is demented and disoriented. How do I know that she knew it was me she said she loved or if she thought I was someone else? At this point, does that even matter?

Anyway, just being in Ottawa has been very emotional for me. I’ve always loved the city of Ottawa. It has many charms and many fond memories but it is also the city I fled when leaving my abusive ex-husband. So returning to Ottawa has brought back those memories too and the thought that had I not had to leave Ottawa I might still live there and therefore been able to help my brothers look after my mom.

Oh well, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube and shucks, if I hadn’t left Ottawa perhaps I might have never met Lise or found my haven at my Lakeside Lair?