Yesterday was mother’s 99th birthday. I went to her birthday party at The Heritage. The three social workers did a great job in making it festive but it was anything but for me.
Her nurses had spent half an hour on mamma’s dress and makeup. Their efforts were overdone and garish.
Sitting on my left, she slept through most of the party, her head on her chest dribbling from mouth and nose. The contrast between the decorations the cake and the music/singing on one hand and mamma’s appalling decrepitude just tore at me and I began to cry.
I fed her a chocolate cake and ice cream, a messy business. With her eyes closed mamma opened her mouth as a chick opens its beak waiting to be fed. Is it shameful to be disgusted by your mother’s neediness?
Doug Kaplan, one of the social workers who was sitting to my right, playing the guitar and singing, leaned over to comfort me. I wouldn’t have it. I told him, “I wish you would stop feeding her.”
He grimaced. “She is content,” he soothed.
That’s debatable in my mind. Is she content only because she cannot perceive her actual situation? Or is she content because, as Doug said, people at this stage are happy just to be?
If she had known 10 years earlier what would become of her by September 15, 2010, would be she be content?
Yes she’s getting excellent care and attention at The Heritage but it’s a part of the problem? Aren’t they just supporting her, a breathing lump of protoplasm?
Who was the character in Greek myths to whom the gods promised to fulfill his one wish? He asked for eternal life and was given it. But he did not ask for eternal youth. And for the rest of eternity he lay blubbering in a corner, an eternally pulsating mass of flesh.
I don’t want to live to 90 or beyond until we have solved the problem of the brain’s longevity.