Who am I? In relation to others
We came down the hall giggling—laughing so hard that the tears began to stream down each of our faces.
The scene may not have been so incongruous had we not been walking down the hallway of 2-North at General Rose Hospital. It was not a laughing situation. Our mother had been ill for almost five years. We had spent innumerable days at the hospital—most of them sad and depressing.
But the situation we had just experienced in her room was so incredible that—perhaps out of a peculiar sense of comic relief—we were giggling so hard that we could not speak.
As we sat in the hospital room, dutiful daughters, both of us, carefully and delicately outlining the few options that were left for caring for our mother—she was thumbing through a Life Magazine. Then she remarked casually about the cover picture of Elizabeth Taylor: "Isn't she beautiful? Why, her eyes are almost purple, they say. She has everything."
I responded, "Yes, even seven marriages!"
Mother shrugged and said, "Oh well, she has to pay some price..."
My sister and I looked at each other. We couldn't believe our ears. Had she really just tuned us out? Perhaps it was a defense against the impossible dilemma—between a rock and a hard place—that she faced: home with 24-hour care, another hospital, or a nursing home.
It had already been a long haul and none of us knew when, where, or how it would finally end.
My sister and I had sat silently together through many surgeries—waiting for word from the Recovery Room.
Then there were the tense days in the Intensive Care Unit—waiting for each breath and each word to return.
There were the seemingly endless days of recuperation. More days of radiation. Hospital to home, and back again, since 1978.