I just visited my mom yesterday and I just realized how bad her dementia is getting to be. For those of you who are not yet in the know, she's suffering from alzheimer's disease. I've written several poems about my mther's condition. If you care to have a look at one of them, you'll find one here I know it's dementia as she's seeing people not visible to us, more often now. Yesterday, while I was playing mah jongg with my siblings and a cousin, I overheard my mom softly moaning, crying in despair in her bed. My kuya told me it's just natural for her to be doing that. I stood up to check her out. She said she didn't know what to answer the "lady over there." I asked, "Why? What's her question?" "I don't know. She keeps on asking me questions. Told me she's my mother."
That gave me a scare. No, I don't believe in ghosts. I am not outrightly rejecting the possibility of their existence but I have yet to see one and at this time. (I don't want to be disproved, though hehehe) At any rate, this reminds me of my dying father. He was in my sister's arms inside the cab enroute to the hospital during that fatal first heart attack. He told my siblings that he was seein his mother (my grandmother) and some relatives long gone. Now, I've heard that story quite too often now and not only here in the country but in other cultures as well.
What does this tell me? SEveral things. First, this death experience must be true. It gives me a glimpse of what death is all about. To me, it is a passing on to another dimension. A dimension that we have yet to learn fully about but will never do. If I am to believe there's another dimension out there, then what is it? Heaven? Probably. Isn't it nice to know that there's life after death? I'd like to believe that. Although it won't eradicate my fear of death, it alleviates its existence.
Going back to my mother, she kept on insisting that there's a woman by the door. I told her there's nobody. Then she cried in terror and asked, "what is she then, a ghost?" "No, didn't she tell you who she was?" "YEs, she said she's my mother. I think I'm going to die!""No, you're not! I am here," held her hand and brushed her hair with my other hand. And she was probably soothed as she kept quiet. Then I realized, in spite of my mother's age, she is as clueless as a teen ager when her time will come. I've heard people talking in wakes about how the departed had managed to say goodbye to their loved ones before dying. Maybe we do realize it at the last moment, I don't know.
Looking at my mother, healing bed sores and all, the third thing I realized is that if this is what getting old is, I don't want any part of it. I want to live as long as I am lucid and kicking. But once I become a burden to my family, then, I think it is time to go. God help me, but I hope my dead relatives pick me up immediately. In the meantime, I have a mother to attend to. A mother who will be celebrating her birthday tomorrow. (A birthday that doesn't mean anything to the celebrant.) A mother who embraced me during the times I was afraid. Took me to school, took good care of me. Cooked me wonderful meals, teased, encouraged and most of all, loved me very much. God! I want my old mother back.