Mother's Day

Mother's Day

A Story by obsidianblood
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An elderly patient in a nursing home looks forward to Mother's Day with her family.

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Mother’s Day

            Hannah awoke earlier than usual.  She could see the sun just beginning to peak through the blinds, giving her room a grayish hue.  She felt more excited than she could remember being in a long time.  It was Mother’s Day.  Everyone had been talking about it all week.  Today, her kids would come.  They would bring the grandkids and her very first great-grandchild. 

            She pushed her call-light, which would let her nursing aide know she was ready to get up.  She sat up and wiped the sleep from her eyes while she waited.  The aide came in, turned the light on and smiled at her.  “Ready to get up, Hannah?”

            Hannah smiled back.  “It’s Mother’s Day,” she told her aide.  “My children are coming today.”  She didn’t notice the flinch in the aide’s face.  “I’ve got to look my best.”

            The aide started getting one of Hannah’s dresses out of her closet.  “Not that one.”  She pleaded.  “I want to wear my nicest dress, the pink one with the pretty white flowers on it.” 

Without comment, the aide switched the dresses and laid the pink one on the bed.  She went to the bathroom and got a warm washcloth.  “Here Hannah, you can wash your face while I get your hose on.” 

Hannah washed her face, feeling the lines that ran like a road map. “Do you think my grandkids will notice how old I look?” 

           

 

 

The aide smiled and looked up at her while putting Hannah’s shoes on.  “You’re beautiful, Hannah.  We’ll put your hair up nice and put your lipstick on.  You’ll be quite the hottie.”

            Hannah chuckled.  She didn’t always understand the words these young girls used, but she understood the tone.  “Will you do that fancy, twisty thing to my hair like you did for church last week?”

            She was wheeled to the dining room for breakfast.  As the aide brought her tray to her, Hannah wondered if the butterflies in her tummy would let her eat.  “My kids are coming today,” she told the other patients at her table.

            Two of the aides overheard her.  Once they were out of earshot, they both sighed.  “She always gets so excited.  I hate seeing her get her hopes up like this every time.” 

            “I know.  She is so sweet.  I can’t stand that her family never comes.  It breaks my heart to watch her.  I wish we could call them and tell them to get their butts up here.  It makes me so mad.”  Feeling rather melancholy, they headed down the hall to get the rest of the patients.

            Purple, pink and white lilies graced the breakfast trays.  They were gifts from the staff.  Hannah had always liked lilies.  Her husband and children used to give her big bouquets of the lovely flowers on Mother’s Day and her birthday.  The memory of her husband brought tears to her eyes, but her children would come today and ease that ache.

            After breakfast, the patients congregated in the day room where some watched television, some played games or worked on puzzles, and some stared off into space.  Hannah felt sorry for the patients whose minds were that far gone.  She said a little prayer

 

of thanks that her mind was still strong.  Hannah watched as a few of the other patients interacted with their families.  Today there would be a lot of visitors.  Other patients had gone home for the day or the weekend.  One of the younger men had gone to the movies with his mom, who came to visit him almost every day.  Hannah’s own roommate left yesterday and wouldn’t be back until tomorrow evening.  Hannah waited patiently for her family to arrive.  She tried not to look at the clock; it always made the time go slower.

            At lunch time, Hannah requested an extra tray of food.  “If they come during lunch, the little ones might be hungry.  I would hate for them to have to leave early to feed the children.  Can you bring an extra tray just in case?”  The aide smiled and nodded, but a tightness in her eyes showed.  “Don’t worry.”  Hannah told her.  “They’ll be here.  They’ll come.”  Hannah regaled the patients and staff with funny stories from when her children were young.  She had five children, three boys and two girls.  She’d lost one of her boys in the Korean War, but the rest of her children were healthy, happy, and lived close by.

            The aides cleaned up the lunch trays, each giving sad, knowing looks to the others as Hannah’s extra tray was gathered.  Hannah’s aide wheeled her to her bedroom.  “Let’s wash your face, then you can have a nap.”

            “What if they come while I’m asleep?”  Hannah asked. 

The aide answered with a strained voice, “If they come, I’ll wake you up.  Better to be rested in case they come later.  Right?” 

Hannah nodded.  “I am a little tired and I don’t want the grandkids to remember their grandma as someone who always fell asleep when they visited.”  She chuckled.  Her aide helped her up and guided her to the bed.  Hannah liked to walk as much as possible instead of being lifted in and out of her chair or bed.  She moved with a slow, rocking gait, taking tiny steps.  She lay down on her bed and the aide covered her up with a blanket.  She stared at the ceiling for a little while, then drifted off to sleep with visions of her coming visit playing in her head.

            After her nap, she spent a little extra time in the bathroom contemplating her reflection.  She stared at her face, at the woman looking back at her and wondered when she had gotten so old.  Her blue eyes, once so bright and vibrant, were now dull and cloudy.  Her hair, freshly dyed blonde yesterday, looked dry and brittle.  Her skin, once fair and flawless, was now sallow with dark circles under her eyes.  The lines on her face were deep and numerous.  She followed them with her fingers as if she was retracing the path of her life.  Doubt crept into her mind.  She flushed suddenly, her heartbeat speeding up, panic overtaking her.  “What if they don’t come?”  She asked her reflection.  “Do they really have any use for me anymore?”  Tears threatened to fall and she gasped for breath as the pain of rejection swept over her, but only for a moment.  “Get a hold of yourself, Hannah,” she scolded and adamantly shoved the doubts and pain away.  “They will come,” she whispered.  “They will come.”

            An activity was scheduled for the afternoon.  One of the rehabilitation therapists brought her dog in, periodically, for the patients to play with.  Hannah always loved these activities.  The dog liked being cuddled and would lick Hannah’s face, relentlessly, until she laughed and pushed it away.  Hannah kept looking at the clock, hoping her family would come before the dog left.  Her grandkids would love to play with the dog.  This was just the right activity for her to bond with the young ones whom she barely knew.  Unfortunately, they didn’t make it in time.  The therapist gathered her dog as Hannah gave it a quick kiss goodbye.

            Back in the day room, she watched as more patients received visitors or left with family.  My Fair Lady played on the big screen TV.  She loved this movie.  She remembered going to see it with her husband.  The staff passed out popcorn.  She saved hers for the kids.  She laughed as she explained, “it always gets stuck in my dentures anyway.” 

As dinner approached, she asked her aide if she could eat in the day room.  “They’ll be here soon, I’m sure.  There isn’t a lot of room for more people in the dinning room.  If I could have an extra tray and eat in the day room, we’ll all be able to sit together.”  The aide smiled, but glanced, furtively, at the other aides.  Hannah saw the pity in her eyes.  She patted the hand of her aide, reassuringly.  “They’ll come, honey.  You don’t need to feel sorry for me.  They’ll be here soon.”

            The other patients shuffled off to the dining room, some in wheelchairs, some in walkers, and a small few on their own.  Hannah breathed a sigh of relief at being alone for a few minutes.  She knew her aide would be back in a minute with her trays and would stay until her family arrived.  They didn’t like to leave the patients alone for too long, especially when they were eating.  That was okay.  Her evening aide was a sweet girl who listened to Hannah’s stories and laughed at her jokes.  For just a minute, Hannah let the fear creep in as she looked at the clock.  Again, she pushed it away.  They would come.

            Her aide brought the dinner trays in and sat down next to her to help her eat.  Hannah tried not to be embarrassed that she needed help.  Though the aides always treated her with respect, she often felt like a baby during meal times.  The aide put a towel over Hannah’s pink dress so it wouldn’t get dirty if she dribbled her food down her chin.  She blushed at the thought of her grandkids seeing her like that.  Better hurry and eat before they get here, she thought.

            Just as her aide finished wiping off her face, Hannah looked up at a sound from the door.  There stood her family.  All four of her surviving children, all twelve of her grandchildren and her very first great-grandchild smiled at her from the doorway.  The aide politely excused herself and left Hannah and her family alone.

            Her oldest son handed her a bouquet of pink and white lilies, just like he had when he was little.  He looked so much like his father that Hannah gasped, softly, as she studied his face.  “Happy Mother’s Day,” they all chimed in together.  Each of her children kissed her on the cheek and hugged her tightly.  Then, one by one, the grandchildren stepped up to her and took her in their arms.  The youngest grandchild was eyeing the cookies on the extra dinner tray in that obvious way that only the young ones can.  Hannah smiled at him.  “You can have anything on the tray you want, sweetheart.  I also saved some popcorn for you.”  The child’s eyes lit up as he grabbed a cookie and flung himself on Hannah’s lap.  “I share with you, Gamma.”  He said.  Hannah laughed until tears streamed down her face.

            The noise level was high as everyone tried to talk over each other, laughed, teased, told stories.  Hannah sat back for a moment and just took it all in.  Her sons were so handsome, so successful.  They were good husbands and good fathers.  Her daughters, who had fought like cats in their teenage years, were best friends now.  Each child, each grandchild, so beautiful, so special, she wanted to imprint this picture in her mind so she could look at it over and over again for the rest of her life.  She was getting tired, but she wouldn’t tell them.  She couldn’t remember the last time she was this happy.

            “Mom,” her oldest daughter hugged her tight as she spoke, “it’s getting late.  We’ve got to get the kids home to bed, and you are probably exhausted.”  She kissed her and started rounding up the children.

            “Gamma, you’re dress is pink, like mine.  Momma says I’m pretty, like you.  I gonna miss you.”  Her youngest granddaughter and namesake kissed her on the cheek and smiled.

            Each of them hugged and kissed Hannah goodbye with promises to see her again soon.  The little ones all had handmade Mother’s Day cards for her.  She gathered the cards up and hugged them to her as her family left.

            Hannah’s aide came in.  “Let’s get you to bed, Miss Hannah, you’ve had a long day.” 

            “Thank you for giving us some privacy.  Did you see how beautiful my grandkids are?  We had the best visit.  Oh, don’t forget my flowers.  They will be lovely to look at on my dresser tomorrow.”

            The aide was standing behind Hannah’s wheelchair, so Hannah didn’t see her face.  The aide glanced forlornly at the table, empty except for the untouched extra dinner tray.

            Hannah was tucked into bed.  She looked over at her dresser and thought about reminding her aide that the flowers had been left in the day room.  She was too tired to worry about it anymore tonight.  They would still be there in the morning.

            The aide watched Hannah with tears in her eyes as Hannah drifted off to sleep with a huge smile on her face.  The aide felt so sad, so angry at Hannah’s family.  She quietly walked out of the room.

The next morning

“Hello.”

“Is this Mr. Taylor?”

“Yes.”

“This is Michelle.  I’m a nurse at your mother’s care facility.  I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but your mother passed away last night in her sleep.”

           

© 2010 obsidianblood


Author's Note

obsidianblood
Any critique is welcome.

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The story is very good and heart warming but sad story. I enjoyed reading it. You have done a wonderful job.
In some places I thought the sentences were too short. 'She loved this movie. She remembered going to see it with her husband. The staff passed out popcorn. She saved hers for the kids' was mainly where I thought the sentences were too short.

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on November 1, 2010
Last Updated on November 1, 2010

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obsidianblood
obsidianblood

Syracuse , UT



About
I enjoy the extreme, the kinky, the bizarre, and the violent. I write what I like to read. I have a BS in English/Technical Writing and work as an RN (that makes sense!). My passion has always been .. more..

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A Story by obsidianblood