Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Mother, Christopher Heights and Wee Three

My mother Pat had MS and for twenty years I was her caretaker, until one Christmas Day she had a seizure. During her seizure we sat on her bed, I held her in my arms to keep her from being flung to the floor. All I could think while holding her was if I let go it would bring more harmful consequences to her frail body that had already been beaten down by the MS. I called my sister and 911 to come get her and take her to the hospital.
At the hospital Pat went into dementia and as the doctors tried to find out the cause, my sister and I watched our beautiful and brilliant mother staring at the wall saying over and over again, “dot com,” for the next three days. It was a truly awful experience and made worse by the fact that after she became herself again she had full memory of the experience.
We were both frightened it would happen again and maybe the next time I would not be there to hold her but at work. For the next few months during her rehab we spent much time talking about her future and how we could manage. It wasn’t possible to afford home health care. Nor for me to stay home with her, financially this would have put us both on the street.
One day late in her rehab she told me she had decided that she needed to go into assisted living. So my sister and I began researching places that we could easily get to, so we could visit often, but they had to be really nice. It had to be a place that she could have friends, her cat Peter and her own little apartment where she could have her own things about her and call it home. We found all of this at Christopher Heights in Worcester, MA. I was of two minds about the entire thing. Guilt ridden by the need to break my promise that she would always be with me and never have to go into any assisted living or nursing facility and the knowledge that it was a beautiful place and the best thing for her.
Though we missed each other and being able to share our days and evenings she was happy there. For this I will always remember Christopher Heights with joy.
I am telling you this entire story as today is to be the first of my events/readings for my book Wee Three: A Mother’s Love in Verse. Wee Three began as a few finished verses and bits of others which I extended and changed that my grandmother Helen Springer Moran wrote for my mother and her brother and sister. It is also a compilation of both my mother’s memories and my own of growing up. And it is only fitting that the very first reading/event will be held at Christopher Heights.
Yes Wee Three is considered a children’s book, yet it is more than that, it is a generational compilation, as seen through the eyes of a child. It brings back to each adult and elder a remembering of their own youth and innocence. So today I will take my grandmother’s, mother’s and my memories on the road for the first time sharing them and hopefully have the opportunity to have the residents of Christopher Heights share some of their memories with me.

4 comments:

  1. It's as if it were meant to be; the reading of Wee Three at Christopher Heights. I know the residents there will enjoy it so; and that you will not be able to read without a memory of your mother flashing through your mind. They will be good memories, I am certain of it!

    Beautiful blog.
    Amanda

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  2. What a wonderful idea to revisit Christopher Heights for your first reading. So significant. I imagine it will be quite an emotional experience for all. I hope it goes perfectly for you.
    I should also say thank you to Christopher Heights for being such a kind and warm place for your mum and all the other residences as well.
    A very emotional and touching story- Thank you for sharing it with us. >3 :)

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  3. Your journey to publication is a very special, emotional, and touching story, Marta. I agree with the previous comments. I too couldn't think of a better venue to present a talk about,'Wee Three'. I treasure having a copy of your book, which is entrenched with beauty and powerful, heartfelt memories.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Stuart Ross McCallum :)

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  4. Thank you my friends your taking the time to read my blog and to comment mean the world to me. Yes it was a very special day.
    XO

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Wee Three Book Trailer voice over Marta Moran Bishop