Things have changed remarkably in the three days since I last posted. We think Mom may not make it past the next day or two. She is so weak, and she has caught pneumonia, which to a person with ALS, can be fatal. In fact, it is the usual course of events, once the person’s lung muscles are so compromised that breathing is a chore. Her blood pressure is low, her pulse is high, and she is now on morphine every four hours. (Morphine! That I can exist in a house with a controlled substance I’ve never tried and not think about it constantly is a miracle. But I must stay present, for her.)

I’ve cried a bit today as the reality hits me in small waves; talking with Lee and the other kids about a service; seeing a picture of her years before the illness, crossing the finish line of the Twin Cities Marathon; calling her minister and asking her to come for a visit.

People have been by all day. I try to concentrate on keeping a fire going in the fireplace. Everytime she sees someone she reaches out to hug them, her eyes coming in and out of focus. She needs to rest, to sleep, so I avoid her line of sight for awhile, but then later we are alone and I tell her that I love her, that she has raised me well, to love and to be loved, that I am sober going on 14 months, that I will take care of myself and my brother, that she has been a great mother to me.

I will stay longer. I call friends in SF to give updates and ask for help, to cover my absences. Tattooed Monk says he wishes he could be here with me and I wish the same. I wish, today, that I had a partner to hold me.

I’m back at Crowman’s on his computer. If she goes tonight, I will be fine. As Tattooed Monk pointed out, sometimes a parent cannot let go if the children are present.

Silent night, holy night. You are always welcome at this campfire.

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