Update 3 from Paris

2015-08-02 21.30.09Dear Friends,

A good chunk of time since my last update. I am not the best organized traveler away from home and I tend to depend on my various hosts schedules instead of following my well established routines when I have my life and work at home: I feel cut from the news of my world while I am staying on slow motion, sitting next to my mom, answering the phone and giving the same news over and over: so many friends who were used to hearing from her directly, but she is not keen any more to speak with anyone, and simply wants to close her eyes, sometimes sigh in a not very charitable way if the person who called was not her favorite of the moment!

I still get as much as lashon hara (the evil speech or gossip) or back stories about neighbors and friends that I have not known, with less significant details that would explain why some of these nice callers would be not too welcome to chat at this more difficult time, but I can easily guess: it could be that they do not share political views, or that they are not always interested in the same important topics as gardening or cooking or literature or the grandchildren, their studies and their intelligence, well, you know, we are all the same after all!

But it is now time to cut to the chase. Mom wants to know what I told them, and then invariably tells me that I said it right: “It is perfect!”. She is staying positive as she has stayed her entire life. Everyone is nice and lovely. But those she does not want to entertain, she dismisses them with a gesture of the left hand, like you are chasing an annoying fly, and she utters a “pfuuui’ that means a world.

Meals are now very long and slow. As my younger brother is going to arrive this evening, my mother mentioned that he was going to be ruthless with her. She admits I have been more patient and lenient with her taking her time, and not always finishing the plates. I have had a teacher in patience with my autistic son for sure. He also taught me to notice very tiny and significant changes in behaviors. Every day, mom has been declining in a tiny way that one would not necessarily notice at once, but the leg is dragging, the moves are slower and sometimes the planning is forgotten: she is surprised to pick up a fork and wonders what to do with it or she dozes after she has started to swallow.

Last Sunday was a good day: no visits and plenty of time to listen to the silence. Memories came back as she was pointing to the paintings she wants us to keep. I recorded the stories that were told several times and stories that had never been told.

In the evening, five of us cousins spent time for a pleasant dinner on a terrace and spoke about our parents, mom being the last living parent of the three common siblings branch, memories are warm and never sad. Time is slow and like it is holding a tenuous breath.

Thinking of you all, with love,


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French blogger in the US writes on cultural differences, disabilities, religion, social media and politics.

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