19 February 2014

Slippers

My slippers went missing.

This is highly inconvenient at this time of year. The slippers are necessary for early morning wandering to the bathroom because that floor is COLD. They're the happy alternative for my tired feet at the end of the day because I, literally, wear shoes from the moment I get dressed until I sit down on the couch sixteen hours later. The slippers are indispensable for transitioning between my outdoor snow shoes and my indoor sneakers, and, believe me, I've been switching shoes a lot for the past few ridiculously snowy weeks. Seriously, it's like I live in Minnesota--all the weather without any of the cute Nordic descendants.

The slippers are not beautiful, nor high quality. I got them at Target about three years ago and it shows. They have an imprinted fair isle sweater pattern, faux leather soles, and the fuzzy insides are pilling. They don't even fit really well, sliding slightly with each step, sounding a shuffle as I scuff down the hallway. And that is why I will never replace them.

When my mother was living with us there came a point when she started dying. Her spirit was still vibrantly alive, but her body just stopped playing along. In a matter of months she went from being able to walk down the hall on her own power to being pushed from room to room in her "red chariot" wheelchair. When it became too difficult for her to leave her room, we would help her back and forth between her reclining chair and bed. Finally, it required both my sister, Erin, and I to position her comfortably on her adjustable mattress so she could breathe through the night. Mom would sit on the edge of the bed and we would swing her legs around so her body was in the middle. Then we would recline the bed, lift her on a draw sheet until her head was just above the top of the mattress, and raise the back and feet for optimal airflow.

Invariably, Mom would slide down in the middle of the night and have to ask us to help her. Erin gave her a walkie-talkie to push instead of calling out, and since Erin was basically just levitating  instead of sleeping at that point she always bolted out of bed at the first squawk. Then she would open my bedroom door and I would pull on my slippers and walk toward Mom's bedroom light.

At halfway down the hall, Mom would say, "Here comes Meggie! I hear those shuffling feet."

I'd lope into the room, disheveled and semi-conscious, and Mom would smile, and Erin and I would start the repositioning process. When she was settled, she'd say, "Thank you, girls," and I'd kiss her forehead and go back to bed for another three hours, before pulling on the slippers to officially start another day.

I found my slippers in the kitchen yesterday, under a bench by the back door. Although it was the middle of the day, I took off my sneakers and slid my feet into the flattened fuzz. I shuffled down the hallway and thought of Mom smiling at me in the middle of the night.


16 comments:

  1. Aww, this is beautiful, Megan. I find when I walk down the hall my gaze will often settle on one particular photo of my mother in law who passed in 2013. I always smile and say hi. It's an odd thing, but somehow it lets me know she's still with me, supporting everything I do, like she always has.

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    1. I have a picture of my mother on my refrigerator that I look at a dozen times a day.She's standing with One on his high school graduation day, and she looks exactly like HER in it. You know how some photos look posed? Not this one. It captures all the life in her, like she's just down in Florida instead of gone. It makes me happy.

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  2. Thanks for sharing that memory. I can picture it all vividly with your loving description. Thanks for the pause in my day to remember how special your mom was and how much I miss her. Been thinking of her often recently and longing for a conversation with her. xoxo

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    1. She still drops into my dreams, which is awesome. We don't always talk, but I know she's around. The last one was actually funny, because she gave me an exasperated look, like "Really, Meg?" Perhaps she's paying too much detail to my life...

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  3. Lovely. Simply lovely.

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  4. Nice. Also, I think you should know MY scuffy slippers have fur pompoms.

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    1. I LOVE fur pompoms! Mine have beat-up fleecy ones, which do nothing but remind me of testicles. But that might have something to do with where I live.

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  5. So beautiful.
    I miss your writing.
    As I'm sure you do, too.

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    1. I watch "Downton Abbey," and last week the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) said, "Life is a series of problems, one after another, that must be managed until we die." When I'm in a positive mood, I try to think of life as a series of opportunities. Therefore, I'm going with I haven't had the OPPORTUNITY to write lately (thanks, constant snow) but I'm glad this managed to sneak it's way into publication!

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  6. My. Your mother's story and her appreciation for care given touches me. Appreciate the sharing.

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    1. And I appreciate you reading it! Mom was gracious until the very end--fully alive until the moment she decided to die. It was fairly remarkable. I hope I have the same amount of grace.

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  7. Beautiful: much like the person writing it and the person about whom it was written. Hugs to you.

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  8. So lovely and sad and sweet. And it's adorable that your mom listened for the scuff and slide of your steps.
    There's a line in a book I read about how we remain our exact complete selves until the last moment when we leave our bodies like a flat tire beside the road and walk on to a different plane. This made me think of that.

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    1. It was very much like that. She was sleepy for much of the day but woke up and visited with all of us, then rested some more. Then she came to full consciousness, told my sister Kate she wasn't frightened and died fifteen minutes later. In my dreams, she is usually a younger version of herself and without any oxygen tubes, so shucking that old body was a relief.

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