Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mom's gifts

there is more

My mom would continue with what she had to say even if I did not want to hear it. Usually it may have been about my father. Something changed. She told me that she had to get it out of her system.

My mother felt she was not educated. Wrong. Depends on the education. My mother was a protegee of Edith Head, the Hollywood lady. People would love to have that kind of education. However, she stuttered and she was self conscious about it. She felt she was the least educated in the family. She had the most "life" education in thee family.

She started to explain why she had to complete her sentences. She was finally getting alot that was repressed in her, and suppressed in her out of her system. She told me so many things. She wanted me to know alot about myself before she died.

We talked for hours. We sat in the dark. My mother was paranoid ever since 911. For some reason it reminded her of World War 2. People would drive by and she was concerned. We lived on a corner. People would try to break in if they knew I was not there.

I never went into the streets. I stayed at home at night. I stopped going out after midnight to get drugs years ago. I finally got to the point where I did not go out after 7pm. I had changed.
I did not need to go out. Even if I had no drugs, I decided I would wait. I would lift weights.
I would read and do research and , of course, I would write. Most of all, I would listen to her for hours. She would tell me about the old days. She would tell me about Central Ave when she was a dancer. She would tell me about the time she worked with Bob Hope in the USO.

We would sit in the living room and she would sit real close to me. She needed that. I needed that. We had come so far. Once she forgot who I was and that was unsettling. Once I was in a car with her when a friend took us shopping and she asked the driver who I was. Three or four times that occurred. I could not see the triigger, however.

I learned from my own self examination, when I was decreasing drug use, certain things at certain times would ignite the desire to smoke cocaine. I monitored each step. However, I could not see it in mom, with respect to her memory about recognizing me. I could notice it when she would lose her glasses, or her wallet or her keys. I began to anticipate. She did not want me to even purchase glass holders, or a key chain or a cane. I did. After I did, she liked them.

Her resistance to change was dissipating. I changed as well. I became very attentive when listening. She was comical. We laughed. She felt safe and secure. She was proud of her son.

"You are t rying so hard, walter. You are doing so well. " She began to praise me all of the time. The more she got things out of her system, the more relaxed she became. We did not even watch television until later. I bought a chair so she could sit in my room and watch television with me. I was no longer the self centered son. I was a mature man who put the needs at all times of his mother before his. In fact, her needs became my needs. If she wanted roasted chicken, I would hop on the bike, go to Ralphs andd purchase it.
Sometimes, I would surprise her. I would fake like I was going to the bathroom. I would sneak out, go to Ralphs and get the chicken and ice cream and her cigarettes. I would be back before she knew I had gone.
"Are you going now, Walter?"
"I did it already, mom". I would do wind sprints on the bike, preparing for the triathlon.
I would love to surprise her that way.

We would smoke a cigarette and she would talk about things. She showed me a red coat that the late Joe Louis, the boxing Champion purchased for her. She would tell me of the times she ate dinner with Henry Ford. He would come see a friend of her's dance when she was in Detroit or Chicago. She told me about Al Capone coming to the night clubs.

She would teach me dance steps. It was beautiful. We both worked so hard for so long.

Years earlier, she called me a junkie when shee was upset. I would be so hurt, for her and for me. She never called me a junkie after I showed her I was improving. I may have still been doing drugs but I decreased.
"Walter, do you need anything?" that was her way of gaging me.
"No mom. Whatever I need can wait until tomorrow. It would become two tomorrows and then three. She would sit in the window and watch me jump rope and shoot baskets across the street from the house, at Tom Bradley elementary school. She would talk about Ethel Bradley alot.
I started my successful charge shooting baskets at night.

She would go in another room and I would sneak old newspapers out of the room and throw them away. I would have to throw them in my room because if she saw them in the trash, she would dig them out. we had newspapers everywhere. We had coupons everywhere.

I noticed how patient I had become and I loved it. I had become patient with myself so it was easy to be patient with mom. I started a garden. At first she said no but I just started it anyway, and then she liked it. I began to just do things in the open. Finally, one day, just like on tv shows when a parent gives advice to their offspring when the offspring is taking over, she said, "when you do the accounting Walter, consider putting the entries in the ledger this way." WE WON. I won with my battles, she won with her battles, and we won with ours.

I ripped off the old wall paper to get rid of the gloominess. I did everything and she let me.
I could not believe it. A few months before, she would not let the City of Los Angeles come and paint her house. I signed her up for it. She said she was not ready. Now, she was going to let me do it all. I do not think anyone could appreciate how far we came.

She even waited for me to make the coffee if I had not done so in the mornings. She liked the way I did it. I was spoiling her and I was glad she finally let me do so. I knew I was going to be also a good husband when I found a wife because I was practicing listening skills.
I had my discipline back.

My mom never told me she loved me before last year. I knew she did. It was written all over her very being. But she started to tell me every day. We hugged and held hands during the day.

My friend says I let him down? If he had known, he would have been proud.
It was obvious that she was happy. We never argued. We argued once and that was months before the incident. IT was because I could not recognize a trigger, her dementia trigger.

Sometimes it could be in mid sentence. My sister holds on to the notion that my mom and I had issues. Nonsense. My sister and my mom had issues. The argued all of the time. I tried to stay clear. I was not successful.
Experiencing everything with my mom, made me a better person with the mentally ill in the facility in Skid Row or with the physically challenged. I was considerate and helped but now I did so with extreme warmth inside. I could feel them because I felt my mom. Mom's gifts of healing helped me heal others down here. It is sad that these people have no rights. They are just tolerated and shuffled to different places. I wonder how much they control their lives. My mom resisted Janice because she wanted to control her life. She fought with success so that her baggage would not control her or her relationship with me. I did the same. It was a love story.
A mother and son love story and then she went blank and flashed back. She did not recognize me and because I had an image of doing drugs, along with my sister's issues, we can no longer experience what we worked so hard to achieve. I love you mom.

When I remember the look on her face, telling me that janice said she would be put away, I think of the mentally ill down here. Does anyone respect what they say or is it discounted because of the label of "mental illness". Mental illness is not homogenous. You learn that when you pay attention to someone. It is not as if she could not do anything. Some things she could do sometimes and other things she grew not to be able to do at all. Still, there were other things she could do all of the time. The powers that be say, oh, she can not make any decisions for herself. Crazy. I am just now learning how to detail it out. I will get better.

The same way they treated my mom and me is the same way the mentally challenged are treated down here. Their opinions mean nothing. My mom's opinion means nothing.
They took it away because her son was labeled a crackhhead and she was labled a "mental"

Mom sister said . "make mom proud of you." Again she does not know. My mom told me how much she was proud of me. Where were you when she told me?

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