I’ve long told stories about my crazy mom…if you’ve read any of them you’re probably convinced she’s a little nuts too…but now it’s official. She’s been admitted to the nut house.
Now, I don’t mean to make light of her situation–let me say that upfront. I don’t intend to poke fun at legitimate mental illness. I don’t even deny that she has a lot of things going on right now that make seeking professional help a not-so-bad idea.
A week or so ago, my sister’s headstone was set. It’s been eight months today since we lost her. The last time I was home, I tried to visit her grave and couldn’t find it. That’s a very odd feeling…walking aimlessly around the general area–hoping to see fresher grass, a funeral home marker, SOMETHING to let me know where she was. Then leaving, not knowing if I had walked right over top of her. Mom had a similar experience around the same time–had gone to visit the grave and couldn’t remember the names of those buried near her, so left not knowing if she had been to the right spot or not.
So, when I knew the stone was set, it was almost a sense of relief for me. I knew there was a place I could visit. Something that marked where she was…and in some way, that she had been here. Mom called, happy to report the stone was in place. I promised to have the florist put together something for the vase the next time I came home. The next day, mom reported making her own arrangement of “fall colors”, placing a teddy bear, a necklace, some sort of cross, and who knows what else on the gravesite. It sounded more like a yard sale than a memorial, but of course I left that to myself–and assured her that I would take care of getting a Christmas arrangement done for the holidays.
Around this time, and I honestly don’t know if it was before the stone was set or after…Mom reported visiting the cemetary (almost as common as “hello” in our conversations). It must have been late in the evening, because Mom reported being awakened after dark by a courtesy office patrolling the grounds who found her sleeping at my sister’s grave.
“I just felt like talking to her, and I sat down there and next thing I knew I had fallen asleep.” she explained. I started to suggest that she might not want to visit the grave as often, for her own sake, but realizing that it may well give her some sort of comfort, I kept that to myself.
Last week, Mom called in tears. Being at the cemetary, seeing my sister’s name in bronze, along with the dates she had been on this Earth, had brought the reality of the situation home to her. I imagine I may react similarly when I see it for the first time. I listened, cracked a few jokes, and by the time we hung up, I felt like I had cheered her up some. A few days later, I hadn’t heard from her, so called to check in, make sure she was doing ok.
I didn’t get an answer. Later, when I didn’t get the usual “I saw ya on the caller ID.” callback, I called my grandmother. She reported that mom was at the hospital…blood pressure through the roof. Granny went on to say that Mom hadn’t stopped crying since Sunday (this was Thursday). I called the hospital, got through to Mom’s room…she answered in tears. Between sobs, she said they were going to admit her to the mental health ward once her blood pressure was under control.
I would say that was good…but my fear is that they will just give her more medication, and 90 percent of her current problems are overmedication as it is. A fistful of vicodin, valium, and who knows what else is NOT the cure for everything, despite what her doctors seem to think. I’m hoping she gets a different sort of doctor this time.