For the past seven years, I have been writing a book about my spiritual journey, the path of life, death, sorrow, grieving and faith. Now that I am finished this seven-year reflective journey, I am ready to share my realizations with you.
Diary of a Spiritual
“Don’t touch it!” Sweat beaded on mom’s forehead as she screamed at the nurse. The bandage around what was once a shapely, supple calf, now a partial leg with stitching under the knee, was stuck to her skin. the bandage was yellow, brown, and slightly pink. Sometimes she would forget that she didn’t have her left leg anymore and get up and walk.
I remember helping her wash one day. I washed her hair and her body in the den. There was no downstairs bathroom in our two-hundred-year-old country house, only the smell of wounds. Wounds from before my time and my mama’s short time. Wounds of years to come.
Tears streamed down her face like they did when she was hit with the spirit at church.
“Don’t touch the wound, please,” she begged her nurse.
One of mom’s nurses was a plump woman with frizzy ash blonde hair. While her bedside manner was graceful, she didn’t have much of a poker face. She would grimace and turn pale at scents and the sounds of my mother’s weeping.
She looked up at mom with a furrowed brow.
“Ida, we have to clean the wound and check for blood clots,” the nurse said.
Mom squeezed my hand tightly, panic stricken pale.
“I love you, you’re the best mama in the whole universe. You’re my buddy and a half,” I said.
“You’re my buddy and three quarters,” she answered
“75 Cents,” we said in unison.
I wasn’t sure if my small hands could handle mom’s vice grip, but I didn’t care. On that summer afternoon in July, 1993 all I could think of was how mom and I were going to celebrate my birthday together, as best friends. My birthday was in less than a month, August 9th. I love my birthday; it is a holiday of its own.Perhaps we would sit and look out the window and make plans for when she would get better, as we often did. I had been trying to convince mom to go outside since she came home from the hospital in June. She took one venture outside for five minutes, got weak and gave up.
“The bandage is off, Ida,” the nurse said.
My mom winked at me.
“I’m invincible!” She said with a squeak.
I looked at mama’s naked leg as the nurse washed the wound. She carefully moved mom’s urine catheter aside as she changed positions, keeping the stump elevated. It was almost time for her urine to be emptied and measured. While she lay in a fetid and painful mess, the nurse asked,
“Did you poop today?”
“No…” Mom hesitated. Her eyes darted toward me and out the window into the garden area of the front yard where she would plant flowers and we would play catch.
“I am going to have to let Dr. Lugenbuhl know.”
“Okay, thank you,” mom said sharply as her leg was being bandaged again.
The nurse quickly checked her vitals one last time and packed up her things.
“See you Friday.”
When the nurse left the house and drove off in her car, mom turned her head to me, attempting to hide her frustration. I felt the whole world drop. Matthew was gone, Nan was at work and Rachel was at college orientation for a week. Mom and I were alone.
“I want to be here for your birthday.”
“Ok, so you won’t be going back to the hospital then?”
“No, I promise. I will be here.”
I didn’t know then, that that kind of promise, one that not even God himself could ever guarantee, was just another malignant mass eating mama to her core. I still blame myself for being mad at her, for not saying goodbye.
©2016 Anj Dixon