Monday, May 15, 2006


The top picture is my mother when she lived in Casper, Wyoming. Annie, my baby sister, took her there when Mom decided to get sober, oh, back in 1985? Annie has always been closest to Mom, she was Mom's special baby, although Mom didn't care for her any better than she did anyone else.

When we were put into foster care, Annie was only 10 and she lost her bearings to a large degree. The people were abusive (I still intend to find them and kill their cat slowly and leave its dead body and a tape of the torture on their doorstep with a note telling them they are next so they can live the rest of their lives in fear) and poor little Annie just flailed. We stayed close, though, although we're not speaking at the moment.

She took good care of Mom, though. Mom drove her nearly crazy with her antics and constant demands for attention and people would call Annie telling her that they'd very nearly ran over her mother when she walked in front of her car. Annie's the one who got called when Mom got 86'd from the hospital for being a nuisance, she thought she had every right to go into the baby nursery and the pharmacy.

Annie helped Mom get all set up in Casper and she had a nice apartment, but she spent most of her days wandering the streets. The people of Casper and Annie's friends and family all watched out for this crazy little old lady and mostly Annie laughed at her antics. She didn't get into garbage cans or stuff like that, but she did do some crazy things. Annie tried to put her in a care center once, realizing Mom was totally losing it, but some lawyer got her out and she went on another few years until she was broken and near death and Annie called me and I flew up and we put her in a home. It was harder on Annie than on me. She stayed there for a year until they threw her out because she was beating people up.

She's 4'9" 90 lbs., but she's an onery gut when life isn't going properly for her. Bill and I flew her down here and put her in the rest home in Parowan, where her grandmother had lived until her death.

Mom's happy there, they let her come and go, she wanders and visits everyone. She's sweet and loves everyone. I had her ears pierced and bought her a pearl (not real) necklace to wear and make her wear cute clothes. I do her makeup and paint her nails hot pink. Sometimes she knows who I am, sometimes not.

When we were little girls, we called her Mama. Usually when I was crying as she left me yet again with somebody, whoever it was that time. She couldn't cook to save her life, she didn't have any maternal skills, but she's all I have to work with, so it's all good.

I am like her mother now, I roll up her boob and stick it in the bra. Sometimes if falls back out, I roll it up again. I guess that's what the nurses do when I'm not there, which is most of the time.

This isn't big tribute to motherhood. It's just a small exploration of my weird mother. I'm grateful for this quiet time when I can care for her in a small way and accept the love she has to give, with no resentment. Nothing profound. Just life.


marta said...

Just life, perhaps, but very profound indeed.

a. nonny spouse said...

Today my grandma is taking my grandpa to a home. He has Alzheimers and can no longer remember how to walk on a consistent basis, and at 80, she can't lift him anymore. She is devastated. He can't remember who she is.

It all seems very tragic to me at the other end of marriage (they've been married for nearly sixty years; I've been married for almost three). But it is, as you say, just life.

It still makes me sad.

Elizabeth-W said...

"But she's all I have to work with", is poignant. To get to that point in life, to see our parents as they are, rather than what they could, or should have, been is very powerful. Thanks for the post.

White Man Retarded said...

No kidding. I reached that point (Eliz.-W) and then backslided. Or, rather, I still backslide when I feel down and/or out. It's like I revert whenever I'm in my as-of-lately-frequenent freak outs. Normally, I can see the good, and also being a parent has helped me see both sides, but man, backsliding...I realize I do love my parents but it's still hard sometimes...

White Man Retarded said...

Do you ever wonder if God, being as we are once, ever blogged about how much His mortal parents screwed him up?

annegb said...

Patrick, you cracked me up. But I think probably God did.

Truman Madsen talked once about how God might have even been divorced in his mortal life. Who knows?

If the church is true, if we believe in repentance, in the Savior and what He did, we all have a chance.

Also, Patrick, my mother is 75 now, it's only been the last few years that I could stand to be around her for any length of time (I'm talking hours). I think my mother earned my animosity, my resentment. That's between God and me.

Don't beat yourself up, it sounds like you're doing the best you can to be a good son. I think that's good enough.

annegb said...

Nonny, I'm really sorry about your grandparents. Bill's father died at 78 and his mother never really recovered.

And she seemed so annoyed with him all the time.

Elizabeth, thanks. Do you ever wonder if you will be mature, ever? I do.

Ann said...

My mother had a stroke after surgery. She has been in the hospital for three months.

Yesterday, on mother's day, she got to go home for the afternoon.

Elizabeth-W said...

I doubt it. I think I'll be 95, and still wondering if everyone can tell I'm totally faking adulthood.

annegb said...

Faking adulthood, lol, that's pretty much what I've been doing. If you ever see that in the paper or something, you'll know it came from me and I totally stole your line. I'll pay you :).

Eric Nielson said...

You're a nice person annegb!