Calling home

These days, I hesitate to call my mother.

I have to prep myself. I have to be ready for the emotions that follow after our conversation.  She tells me a new story about my father every time I call. “He can’t be left alone,” she says. “I placed his pills for the day in a bowl and hid the rest so that he wouldn’t confuse which days they were for. But he found the hidden bottle and took both including the ones in the bowl.  I was so worried. I kept asking him, ‘are you sure you are OK?’ and he just said fine, but he was quieter than usual. He can’t be left alone.”

I ache for my mother.  I ache for my father.  They weren’t soul mates, nor were they in love when they married.  My mother joined the revolution, and my father watched from afar, loyal yet hurt.  The government arrested my mother and imprisoned her for five years and my father was left behind to care for their three children.  This was their wound.  Immigration was their escape, but immigration has its own wounds and struggles.  Separation. Language barrier.  Finances.  My father finally retired at 81, but now his mind is far away, and my mother can’t retire yet even at 68. She is looking for jobs, unable to leave my father alone. They visited a senior home and my father refused to even consider moving there.

The is my wound now, having to accept their eventual disappearance.

These days, I hesitate to call my mother.