I’ve been thinking about my mom all day. Not mournfully, but instead placing myself back three years in time, and thinking about her incredible Eleanor-ness during the 13 days between stroke and death. In those days, I learned about dignity, about humor, about courage, and about letting go. I’m going to try to write a bit about these lessons over the next 12 days, because…well…just because.
Today is about humor. My mom was an inveterate punster. Punning was just something we did in my family. My brother and I are her acolytes – my sister throws in the odd zinger every once in a while, but she is the refined one of the three of us. Ask anyone who sat around the table with us – it was energizing or enervating, depending on their predilection for puns.
On the second day of her post-stroke hospitalization, my mom was inundated with visits from doctors, nurses, PTs (physical therapists), OTs (occupational therapists), and the most wonderful ST (speech therapist). One of the first things the ST did was check my mom’s cognitive abilities by asking her, among other things, to define some words. I sat back and watched the master. She aced the first one, and the ST next asked her to define “bargain.” My mom said, very clearly, “Noun or verb?” We all laughed, and the ST said, “I don’t think we need to continue this part after that last question!”
The next day, the ST returned to my mom’s room, trying to trigger my mom’s swallow reflex. She kept stroking both sides of my mom’s throat while repeating “Swallow, swallow, swallow.” My mom blithely responded, “I’m not in Capistrano.”
Get the picture? That was my mom – my brilliant, funny, wonderful mom. Stay tuned. There’s more to come.