Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The good the bad and the funny

As many of you know my mother had a brain aneurysm followed by a very sever stroke in August of 2009. This event forever change her life as well as ours. After 3 months of in-patient and out-patient rehab in Orlando, this past Saturday I brought my Mother home to Guatemala. Here she will start her new life with my Father in their same old house, I call it her new life, well because besides the house, the dog, and the cars, everything is different. She is a new person, not worse, not better, just different. This is a hard thing to come to grips with, I can say I have done so 100%. And in here lies the title f my post:

The Good: In the last 3 months my mother has said things to me that she has never said before.

Darling, you are a treasure, you really are such a jewel. Did you know you are such a good daughter. Everything you do for us, I want you to know how much I appreciate it.

Honey, you have become such an amazing woman. You are a loving wife, a wonderful mother, look at all your friends, they all love you so much. Look at your home, you have made such a beautiful home. (this was at a Holiday party we had at my house)

Sweetheart, I want to tell you how much I love you, you are so good, such a sweet girl.

The bad: My Mother has something called left Neglect. The right side of her brain is dead so in her world everything left of center does not exist. She does not see it, hear it or feel it. This includes her left leg and arm. At some point she decided that her left hand was mine.

Honey, when are you going to take your hand back? I am getting tired of carrying it all the time. You know it is very heavy. (I ask her to look at me, I wave both my hands in the air and ask her how many hands I have) She answers 2. I tell her, Mom these are my hands, we all have our own hands. I then hold her left hand and explain to her it is her left hand, attached to her arm, attached to her body. She says ok, but it is the ok your 13 year old gives you to make you shut up.

Once in a blue moon on a bad day, if I am not around, she gets upset.

She tells my father rather firmly (this is a woman who has never raised her voice in her life) Call your daughter right now, and you tell her to come pick up this hand! You tell it is very heavy and I am tired of carrying it! You tell that the next time we go to the store I am leaving it in the TRUNK!

The funny: You have all heard of my mothers highly hilarious comments, even before the stroke, they have just gotten so much better.

I arrive to visit her after work.

Honey, I have been thinking of you all afternoon. I told your Dad to call you! we had Cherry Pie, I know how much you love Cherry Pie. I told your Dad to call you, but he wouldn't!

- I know Mama, I am busy at work, he didn't want to interrupt me.

Oh, no Honey, he said your TOO FAT! You should not be eating pie!

Thank Goodness he is deaf as a door knob, or he would have been mortified, I laughed my fat ass off and told everyone about it!

For the flight Orlando- Guatemala we had to be at the airport at 4 am, of course the one day it was supposed to snow in Central Florida. 2 cars, 6 suitcases, my Mom, my Dad a wheelchair and me. To say it was hellacious is the biggest understatement I could conjure.

Getting checked in, getting her on the airplane, transferring her from the chair to her seat in a cramped space, with a long line of people staring, it was a lot to deal with. Of course because nothing in life is ever easy, we had to stop in El Salvador and change planes. Our plane was late, ad the connecting flight was waiting for us. Well, they had a long wait, because my Mom was not able to use the restroom in the airplane, and had to use it when we stopped over.

The first leg of the flight was almost 3 hours. She says I need to lay down. Lay me down.

Mommy I can't. Where am I gong to lay you down?

Darling, just lay me down right there in the aisle.

MOM! I can't lay you down in the aisle, how will people get by?

Oh, honey, very carefully, that is how they will get by.

We land, Get her in the chair, of the plane, up 3 million ramps, to the 1 handicap bathroom in the whole airport, off the chair on the bathroom, back on the chair, run across the airport, back on the 2nd plane into the seat. Did I tell you it is hotter than hell in El Salvador?

We sit, I put my seatbelt on and wipe my face. I am sweating like a pig. Mom, It is so HOT in here!

Really, she says, I am freezing, put another blanket on me! I look at her, she asks me "What?"

Mommy- of course you are not hot, I have been running around like a mad woman, pushing you around, picking you up and putting you down!

She laughs and says- Of course you have, I am the Empress of China, can't you hear they are even playing my special music?

I stop and on the plane, indeed they are playing some sort of oriental music. We cracked up. For the next 3 days, everyone who came over to the house, we did our little song and dance.

me: Mom who are you?

Mom- I am the empress of China and you are my servant girl.

Next week I will return to my regular life in Orlando. I won;t get 3 million phone calls a day from my Dad, asking about dr's appointments, medicines, food, directions or eery other variable he could think of during the day.

I won;t have to rush to see my Mom after work and then rush home to make dinner for my husband and kids. I won't have to take off work to drive them to a Doctor which they have never been to and would never be able to find. And I won;t be spending Saturdays and Sunday cooking for them and watching girly DVD's with my Mom, while my husband and Father doze off.

I will be carefree and fancy free and I don't know if I will be able to stand it.


  1. Hey, Slave Girl, I need someone to help me with my move.

  2. Aw....Wow.
    I don't know if you intended to, but this really touched me.

  3. Ylla, Thanks so much for the update. I always refer to my childhood second family that lived next door and have kept a special place in my heart. We lost touch but I often wondered how all of you have been. Send my best to Mr and Mrs P for me. Sounds like you have been a great daughter.

  4. Wow, wonderful post, and you are an amazing daughter! I love your mom. :) Thank you for sharing!

  5. This is just wonderful, Ylla...fabulous!

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  7. Wow, Ylla. You should write for a living. What a wonderful post. You are a great daughter! Give my best to your Mom and Dad. Do you remember when your Mom lost her diamond ring at the beach in Nags Head? Tell her I still look for it. LOL Andrea

  8. I stumbled on your blog tonight while procrastinating all of my various chores. This really spoke to me because my mother in law had an aneurysm and two strokes five years ago. She became a totally different person. People she loathed were now her best friends. People she adores before the aneurysm were now secretly plotting against her. Her aneurysm was in the impulse control part pf her brain. So she went from being a shy, quiet Southern lady to someone who says ANYTHING at ANY time. It keeps you on your toes. She was divorced and had no other family, so she came to live with us when her insurance ran out and she was not able to go home. It is a very difficult thing. I applaud you!


I love you Darling, really! Thank you!