In the hours that I’ve spent at Craig’s mother’s bedside, I have found it difficult to be silent.
She alternates between moments of alertness, making eye contact and nodding in response to questions, and moments of unconsciousness. She is in there still…and she is trapped. You can see that she has much that she’d like to say, but she cannot speak.
So I talk to her and for her. I talk about her grandchildren, her sons, her friends. I retell stories that she has shared with me–stories of her youth.
I continually ask her if she wants me to talk and she always nods yes.
But, I can’t help but wonder if she’d appreciate it if I was just silent for a bit, or maybe if I would just slow down and let the memories wash over her, like warm sunshine on her face.
I find myself going on and on, afraid of the silences, afraid to waste one precious minute of the time that we have left, afraid that she will go and I will have some little thing that I want to share with her.
I tell her that I am eternally grateful for her son. I tell her that he is strong and true. Patient and handsome. Loyal and tender. (She knows all these things, but I tell her all the same.)
I tell her that Katie grows more confident every day and that she loves gymnastics.
I tell her that Matthew has turned into an impossibly happy baby and that he adores his sister.
I tell her how her granddaughter Keelin has an eclectic spirit that illuminates any room.
I tell her how her grandson Zai is turning into such a fine young man, intelligent and kind, silly and serious.
I don’t tell her that I am scared that I wont know how to help her son when she passes.
But, I do tell her that he is safe with me, that I will figure it out, and that I’ll never let go of his hand.