Love You Forever….

There is a story by Robert Munsch titled “Love You Forever”. Those of you who do not know the story, it is about the love a mother has for her child throughout his life. I’ve been thinking about this story for the past few days. Let me explain why.

A few nights ago I received a phone call from my mother. She and I speak often, especially since my father died almost thirteen years ago now.                        

So, a few nights ago I received a phone call from her. She seemed normal on the phone.

“Hello Nic, I don’t want to alarm you, but I’ve fallen and the ambulance will be here shortly.”

She had fallen just after brushing her teeth. She turned to exit the bathroom and fell. She tried clutching to the marble surface of the sink, but cut her index finger deeply – something that would require four stitches. She hit her head on the side of the toilet and landed prostrate on the ground. She tried calling out to her tenant downstairs for over an hour as she pulled herself along the floor towards the kitchen, eventually getting ahold of a phone. It took her an hour and twenty minutes to drag herself fifteen feet. She eventually was able to contact her grand-daughter (my half-niece) who arrived within minutes of getting the call. My Mother, blood streaking from the bathroom into the kitchen from her cut hand, did not want an ambulance straight away. She wanted to have clean socks and for the house to be presentable when the first responders were called. It was over two hours before she was at the hospital.

The next calls I received were from the hospital. A preliminary x-ray showed no broken bones. They called for a CT scan. That scan showed a multi-fractured hip. She was going to need surgery. This is the fear of so many seniors.

The surgeon called me to let me know that he would be putting a few screws and staples in her left hip. He also wanted to let me know that he was reviewing the paperwork and noticed that she had signed a “Do Not Resuscitate” a few years previously. He wanted to prepare me that she was high risk for complications due to her health and age. He wanted to let me know that if there was a complication, her request would be followed. I acknowledged that I was aware of the paperwork she had signed. An hour later my Mom called in a panic. She wanted to be resuscitated and wasn’t “ready to go” yet.  I was able to get in touch with her GP and told him what she had said. He told me he would see what he could do.

I did all I that I could to get up to where she lives as soon as I could. It took me two days to finally get up to the hospital in Hopeless. My daughter gave me a print of a painting she had made called a “Giraffe-Snake”. It was her way of showing her grandmother she was thinking of her.

My Mom was scheduled for surgery at 4pm the day that I drove up to see her. I encountered many delays and they kept pushing her surgery. Finally, at 11:30pm I arrived and she was sent to surgery. I waited in her room at the hospital, but was told she would be kept in recovery for a while, so I left. I was called at almost 3AM that she was doing fine. I was very relieved.

Then it happened. I thought of the lines from the Robert Munsch book:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always

As long as you’re living, my baby you’ll be.

Here I was back in Hopeless. The place where I was born. The place my Mother raised me. The place where I was abused.

When my Mother was pregnant with me, she was tormented by her sister to abort me. Her sister felt she was too old to have a child, and had aborted one herself since it was the “right thing to do”. My Mother (thankfully) did not listen to her. Despite the constant warnings that I was going to be born “abnormal” or “deformed”, my Mother was determined to have me. The opening line of Munsch’s book is:

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

I thought of her holding me all those years ago. How small I once was.

I spent the next day at the hospital with her. She was putting on a good show of her sarcastic humor, and trying to come across as cool and collected. Deep down she was afraid, and took out her frustrations on the nursing staff who were trying to help her. Her hip hurt, and she needed to start to walk again. Years of being on her own had caused her to develop her own system of movement. It was assessed that her movement pattern had to change as it was going to eventually lead to another fall. She was going to have to learn to walk again. She became even more upset, her blood pressure raising. She cried. I watched helplessly.

Here was my mom who confronted the private school immediately when she discovered bruises all over my body (unaware of the deeper abuse at that time). She didn’t think twice. She was a powerhouse. Another line from Munsch:

But at night time, when he was asleep, the mother quietly opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. If he was really asleep, she picked up that nine-year-old boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

When I left the hospital on the second night, I returned to my room and turned on the television. The Empire Strikes Back was playing. When my Mom was ill when I was a child, it was the Empire Strikes Back that I would watch over and over. It was something I watched when I recovered from the knife attack in the snow. It was now on again, reminding me of the Power of the Force. That we are luminous beings. Life creates us, makes us grow. We are children of the Force.

I am writing this while the movie continues to play in the background. It is only my second day up here. Today, before I left the hotel I helped my mother bring her legs up into the hospital bed. The powerful woman, my powerful mother, lay down. I lifted her head up and put the hospital pillow underneath her silver hair. Her right arm, shaking from the stress and fear of where she was, away from her cats, away from her house. I turned to leave, wishing her a goodnight. Three young nurses entered the room and introduced themselves to her.

“Hello. I am Montana, this is Arielle, and this is Prya. We are going to be your nurses tonight.”

None of them were over twenty-two. They were very excited to be at work, and were now in the dragon’s lair. I mean that with respect and love. My Mother has always been a powerhouse. My Dad told me that there were three ways to do something. “The right way, the wrong way, and Pearl’s way.” I looked at the young nurses. Then to my Mom. My Mom’s response to the nurses introduction was to tell them she wanted to have a bedpan to shit in and not be forced to walk across the room. She started to cry and told them it had not even been twenty-four hours since her surgery and she was feeling too rushed. The nurses laughter became nervous, as they started to understand whom they were dealing with. They tried to reassure my Mom that they were there for her. My Mom responded with an ominous “we’ll see.” Then she directed their attention to the “Giraffe-Snake” painting, telling them it was painted by her 12 year old grand daughter. They laughed a bit seeming more confused than before. They then left the room a little more shell-shocked than they had entered it. I waited for them to come out of another room before I left. I told them my Mother was naturally sarcastic. That she had been living alone for thirteen years since my Dad died. She was not used to attention and that she had worked in the banking industry as an executive during a time when it was not common for women to be more than tellers. She had to put up with a lot and fight for everything she achieved. The young nurses seemed to understand. As I started to walk away I said “good luck” and started to laugh. I am sure I will hear all about what transpires tonight when I return in the morning.

The final lines from Robert Munsch’s book resonated with me tonight:

Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, “You’d better come see me because I’m very old and sick.” So her son came to see her. When he came in the door she tried to sing the song. She sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always…

But she couldn’t finish because she was too old and sick. The son went to his mother. He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my Mommy you’ll be.

Whatever the next few days, months or years bring, I cannot say. I love my Mom, she is one of my heroes. She is a fighter, she is strong, and she is proud. She will always be my Mommy.

Goodnight Mom, I love you.

One thought on “Love You Forever….

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