Mama was in a nursing home for the last two years of her life. It is never easy, this decline and dependence, and less so for a woman has always been out and about in the world, managing everything.
I lived with my cell phone always at hand, always ready for a call from one of the nurses. Then one day, I got one that sounded like the one we had all been dreading: “Please come immediately: your mother is not responding.”
“It will take me eight minutes to get there.” I hung up without letting the nurse say another word, hyper-focused on piloting the roads to Mama’s side.
I was beeped in the doors; I rushed down the hall to her room, her nurse trailing behind me.
“She seems okay, but she is not tracking with her eyes…”
I walked into Mama’s room. She was sitting watching Funny Girl, which, as you know, stars Barbara Streisand and Omar Shariff. I put my face up to hers.
“Hey, Big Al, what’s up?”
“Not much.” She responded.
I looked up at the nurse and the young doctor who had just walked through the door. He started,
“Wow, I couldn’t get her to say anything! And her eyes are fixed….”
I turned to the television; Omar was putting the moves on Babs.
“He was a fine looking man, wasn’t he Alice?”
Mama broke her laser-gaze and half-leered, “Oh, yes!”
“Never get between a woman and a good-looking man.” I counseled the young doctor. So I sat down next to Mama and watched the rest of Funny Girl.