It speeds by so quickly, doesn’t it? And we strive to find ways to protect our time: time with a spouse and family, time for meditation, time for recreation whether physical exercise, or a hobby we enjoy.
When mother moved near us I was careful to protect my time; it would have been so easy to spend it all with her to exclusion of me, my family, and other obligations. Mother needed help with almost everything, it seemed; and I was . . . the local son “on duty.”
Mother was not demanding. But I found myself arranging her grocery run on my way home from work (to save TIME, of course), and I seldom if ever lingered there with her once the delivery was made. After all . . . I had to get home.
We began a weekly dinner with her every Tuesday night; one week I would bring her to our house, the next week we would pick up food from a nearby restaurant she liked, then take it back to her apartment. It was a pleasant time, and both my wife and I were involved. But . . . we did not linger long after dinner; maybe a half hour or so. That is all.
I distinctly remember leaving mother one afternoon after I had delivered her groceries. I was in my typical “rush,” but she lingered at the door as we said, “Goodbye,” and I saw the sadness in her face. She said, “I wish you could stay longer.” (A tear comes to my eye as I write this)
But I did not stay.
Too soon it is all over.
Several of mother’s vertebrae rupturing one April night, calling 911 to get her help, meeting the fire department there, then following them to the hospital. Subsequent surgery on her back, then slow recovery in the hospital, then in rehab care. Other health complications gradually taking their toll. Being her advocate when some of the rehab facility workers did not treat her well. Doctor appointments and more doctor appointments (thanks to my uncle, mother’s baby brother, for helping with some transportation). Having her evaluated for a move to assisted living, then making the move itself.
Then . . . she was gone.
What I would give to go back. And linger . . . with her. Just dawdle. Just sit in chairs and watch TV together (if nothing more).
All she wanted was companionship. From someone she knew and trusted. Someone who was not a guest, or a newcomer in her life.
But I was too busy.
Oh yes. I have some regret.