I said goodbye to my biological mother this morning.
I went to the hospital alone, and suited up in a blue plastic gown and gloves. A precaution due to possible infection – CDIFF. When I walked in she said, “I knew you were here…I saw your orange shoes.”
I took her hand in mine and we talked. I told her about S. not showing up yesterday and played her a YouTube video of one of his songs. And I cried. Not about S. But because we were having this kind of conversation, because she had oxygen tubes in her nostrils and because I felt the hospital bed rise and fall under me and I doubted that we would do this again.
I turned on Pandora and we danced to the O’ Jays Love Train. “Tell all the folks over in Africa.” “Been there,” she said, pointing to me. “Tell all the folks in Egypt and Israel too.” “Been there,” I said. “Israel.”
She had asked for no tears when I arrived on Friday. But today I sobbed. I apologized, and she said it was OK. She told me to thank Mel (my dad) and Linda (my mom) and my birthdad (who I am also in touch with) for all of his good thoughts. I had called him before I came and told him about her condition.
A doctor came in and asked her for permission to talk with a skilled-care facility. She nodded.
She told me we would stay in touch. And I reminded her how hard it is for her to talk on the phone. She told me she could listen.
She told me that she loved me and that I was beautiful and I had lived a good life and that I would live a good life. I touched her face and her hair and we looked into each other’s brown eyes. The same eyes. She didn’t cry. I touched her legs and told her she was strong.
She seemed at peace. Resolved. I sang Ain’t no Mountain High Enough. A nurse came in to administer her respiratory treatment. Another showed up to take an x-ray. “He’s cute,” I said. And we laughed.
I walked out backwards, pulling off my gloves and gown, waving with both hands and singing “No wind. No rain. No winter storm…..”
I washed my hands through two rounds of Happy Birthday, just as I was instructed, and sobbed.
Back at her home I told my Aunt about our visit. How we had promised we’d stay in touch but we knew we were lying. I threw myself in her arms and made those wounded animal sounds I had made in the hours before I met her three years ago, when my then-husband layed at my side. I couldn’t breathe. She held me and said, “You will. Maybe just not on this plane.”
She took me to the airport. And when I got to the gate I plugged in my cellphone. Pandora turned itself on without any intention on my part. Baby Love was playing. I shook my head, smiled and cried.