My mom is in the hospital this morning, undergoing surgery to repair her foot. She broke her foot sometime last year; she slipped while walking down stairs, and though she barely fell at all she tore a tendon in her heel. The tendon is irreparable, but the surgery will relieve pain and make it easier to walk.
This surgery comes just months after other surgery to replace her knee. A couple years ago my father had a hip replaced, and he should have the other replaced too but, typically for him, he has put it off indefinitely.
Dad doesn’t hear too well anymore, but rather than see a specialist, he wears the decrepit hearing aid his mother wore — it’s decades old, doesn’t fit him, and helps his hearing not at all.
When I stopped by my parents’ house last night, they were just finishing dinner. Mom had me fix myself a plate of pot roast with noodles and vegetables, and we sat around the table as we always did.
But not everything was the same. Conversation centered first on my mom’s search for a wheelchair, to use after her surgery. Then we talked about a close family friend who has been in the ICU for days and probably won’t survive many days longer.
My younger brother Jude was wearing pajamas at the dinner table, at 7pm, which seemed unusual even by Closkey standards; he’s become an old curmudgeon well before his time. After dinner Dad sat watching TV wrapped in a blanket against the cold, exactly where my grandmother used to sit and looking for all the world like her reincarnation.
As much as a downer as this all should be — all of us growing old and staring Death in the eye, my mother undergoing anesthesia right this moment — I find myself cheerful. The sun shines through my window, I’m drinking fresh, hot coffee, and I’m looking ahead to a day full of good work for clients I like.
I’d like to draw a Wise Thought from this, some pithy sentence to share with everyone or to think back on myself when life seems grim. All I have, though, is this feeling that the day is new, and that whatever it brings is enough.