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vcnavega
December 9th, 2012, 10:50 PM
“I am so insensitive.”

“That is not true. Why would you say that?”

“I have my reasons. In 2007, I did a nasty thing to my mum, but I only realized it when Hrday passed away in 2010. It took me 3 and a half years to realize how insensitive I had been.”

“What happened in 2007?”

“Something happened to my mum, something that changed her life, and when her life changed, my life also changed completely. For me, this meant no more travel and no more fun - I am stuck here with her. Oh, I know I shouldn’t be complaining, I am finally being able to do what I always wanted to do, but still, I can’t help it. I miss my freedom.”

“Sorry, Vilminha, could you be more specific?”

“Oh, sure, Sam, I am the one who should apologize, I am just mumbling and muttering here.”
“My mum came from a beautiful family, and she had many siblings, but in the end there were just two of them, my mum and aunt Tereza. She didn’t really live with us, she lived in many places: with her children, in a home, and only sometimes with us. There were days during the week the two of them had painting classes at my house, so during those days of the week aunt Tereza used to sleep here. She was my mum’s close companion, and I also enjoyed her company. One day she had an appointment with her cardiologist, just a regular check-up, but when the doctor saw her he immediately admitted her to the hospital, and later she had to be admitted at the ICU. My mum didn’t take it seriously, neither did I. We thought it was some kind of lung infection, but few days later she couldn’t breathe by herself anymore and had to be connected to life support machines. My sister in law kept in touch with my cousins, and she kept telling us that the situation was really serious. She suggested we should visit aunt Tereza at the hospital, but mum and I still didn’t realize how serious the problem was. I don’t remember how long it took, perhaps a week or ten days, I just remember that my sister in law called me and said ‘Vilma, don’t say it abruptly to your mum, but aunt Tereza has died.’”

“Oh, I am sorry to hear that.”

“Well, you are a sensitive person. But me, what did I do? I went to my mum and said it in a rough way, so that my mum wasn’t able to digest it. I just said it, without any care, I didn’t know what I was thinking. I suppose I thought she had so many siblings, she had lost all of them, what difference could there be in losing one more. But that doesn’t make any sense to me now. Aunt Tereza was my mum’s companion, now I realize, only after my brother died could I see what an unbearable pain it is to lose your best friend, your companion.”

“Did your mum feel ill? Did she fall upon hearing the news?”

“Not right away, not really, she is a strong person. She cried and mourned, and we went to the funeral ceremonies and all. Aunt Tereza was a Baptist, her children are very serious about their spiritual lives. Everything was beautiful, sad, and really touching, and it all went well. Only few months after that my mum started having problems with her own health.”

“What kind of problems?”

“The first one was labyrinthitis, something that started and caught her out of the blue. Actually Hrday was in Brazil the first time it happened, but he didn’t notice, I did. She was outside, in the laundry room, we were in the kitchen, talking and having fun. She came in, as white as a ghost, and said that the fridge we have out there almost fell on top of her. I knew it wasn’t true. I knew it was just the impression she had, I have had students who suffer from labyrinthitis.”

“I don’t know much about this condition.”

“It is a nasty thing, you lose balance, and things seem to start moving around you. You lack a sense of direction, you feel you are spinning, it is awful. You can fall, or faint, and there is not much you can do except to lie down and relax until the crisis is over. My mother was already elderly, and falling down at that age would be pretty bad, you know. We didn’t want anything to happen to her, and we didn’t know what was going on. It took us some time to get a doctor to diagnose the condition, but once that happened she got medicine to control the disease. Hrday was already back in Italy and I kept my eye on mum, to be sure she was okay, and she wouldn’t fall. But then, something worse happened.”

“Oh, what was that?”

“Arrhythmia. Specifically she has a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation. It is a very dangerous thing, and she could have died. I had to take her to the ER all the time and they performed many procedures on her, trying to avoid invasive procedures, because of her age. But in the end they had to go for something more effective, what they call electrical cautery.”

“I am not familiar with this procedure.”

“And you think I was? I was terrified. They kept bringing in new specialists and other cardiologists, it was like taking a speed course. I had to understand everything, all the options, and my brothers kept saying ‘Vilma, you must be prepared, mum is going to die, she is old, she is leaving us.’ But I couldn’t accept that.”

“But she is still alive.”

“Yes, she is, and my brother is gone.”
“It took two years and many procedures to fix her heart, even the electrical cautery worked only for a few months. It was back again, her atrial fibrillation returned, and is being controlled right now by medication. You see, Sam, this is how my life changed completely. I wasn’t able to give Yoga classes, I had to cancel classes all the time, it was the same with my appointments with my clients, and soon enough I had to close my institute. Of course I couldn’t travel anymore. How could I travel to India? Will I ever be able to travel again?”

“Can’t you leave your mother with somebody else?”

“With who? A nurse? A stranger? No. Not ever. She took good care of me all my life. Now it is my turn to care of her. I love her. You know, Sam, I never ate a watermelon with seeds.”

“Oh, that’s strange. Do they only have those seedless watermelons in Brazil?”

“No, Sam, mother always took the seeds out for me. This is just an example of how she always served us, not only me, but all of us, my father and my brothers as well. She is a perfect servant, and now it is her turn to be served. I don’t want to disappoint her.”

“Vilminha, you are not like her.”

“But I wish I was.”