and so I walk

And so I walk while the sun sets. I walk up and down the driveway because it’s too dark to walk on this country road.
262 steps. Up and down. Down and up. I lose count of the cycles.
The woods are quiet and cool. Even the flying insects are still — except for the flireflies that sparkle the darkness.
I walk after sunset because it’s the only time I can get out. She is finally calm enough for my brother to sit in front of the television with her.
I have a headache from shouting because she can’t hear. She cries so much, and I don’t know if it’s from pain or despair. “Where’s my mother,” she sobs. I wonder who I will call for when I am 91 and demented. Not my mother, certainly.
She wants water. I hand her a glass of water and she pushes it away. She does not look at me. She is somewhere else.
“Warm water,” she says.
“You want to drink warm water?” I ask.
“Hands,” she says, rubbing her hands together. Her hands are cold.
I fill a bowl with warm water and she puts her hands in them. I wonder if she’s thinking of a winter time long ago when her mother gave her a bowl of warm water for her chilled hands.
She’s so weak that she can barely stand, but she won’t sit down, won’t lie down. She wants to walk. Wants her shoes on. Wants her feet on the floor. Wants her brother. Her mother. Her sisters.
We’re trying new meds.
And I’m trying. I’m trying.
And I walk in the dark.
I sit for a moment on a boulder by the side of the driveway. Mother Earth’s old bones, I think. What about my mother’s old aching bones, the surges of pain, the despair and longing and inability to rest, finally.
And so I walk at nightfall. And go nowhere.

4 thoughts on “and so I walk

  1. Ahh, but you ARE going somewhere–somewhere peaceful and sane, if only for a few minutes.

    You are a good person.

  2. I hope there is a heaven to reward people like you–you certainly deserve it. My mother (83) seems to be starting down the same road your mother has been on for some time.

  3. Elaine, just to say…this is a long odyssey for you both. Thank you for sharing parts of it with us.

  4. My heart ached when I read this. I thought of my mother this morning. She knew me and my family but was so demented she could not spend time with us. The tears run down the back of my throat. After all these year they do not come out of my eyes. This too will pass and from somewhere you will get the strength to endure the present.

    b

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