Mama, you’re really beautiful.
Cameron rolled over and gave me a kiss, then gently rubbed it in, before wrapping his arms around my neck.
And I’ll always think of you. I’ll always love you. I’ll love you until the day I die!
Wow, melodrama, I thought. But okay. He’s sleepy, and going somewhere with this. I murmured reassurances of my love for him, punctuated with kisses and caresses across his cheek, over his forehead, smoothing down his hair.
Mama, why were you crying today?
I hadn’t known that he’d really noticed, and I hadn’t cried much, but I should’ve known better. He sees and notices everything, he just doesn’t always react right away.
You mean when we left Nana’s residence?
Nana lives in a residence, unable to live on her own any more. On short visits, when it’s just me and Cameron, there’s no way I can take her home to her condo. Even this time, with Joanne there too, Nana just requires too much assistance and it’s quite a process to even get her home let alone look after her.
Are you sad because she’s going to die?
Mmmm. No. That’s not quite it, Cameron. This is really grown-up stuff to talk about, and might be a little confusing, but I’ll tell you anyway. I love Nana so very much –she’s very special to me. She was a very proud and strong woman, who looked after herself and everyone in her family. But now she’s old, and her body doesn’t work right, and she needs people to look after her now. I know she’d be mad and hurt and embarrassed if she was still the person inside her head that I remember her being. But she isn’t. Just like her body doesn’t work right any more her mind doesn’t work quite right either. And I really miss her.
You miss her, even when you were right there with her.
This wasn’t toned as a question. He was listening. And he was right. Yes, little sparks of her still shone through the haze and exhaustion of age, but time and TIAs (mini-strokes) have stolen a lot of her.
Yes. And it was hard to walk away. Because I don’t know how much less Nana she’ll be next time we see her.
He snuggled a little closer, and gave me a bunch of kisses.
I love you, Mama. And I love Nana too.
I love you too, Cameron. Forever. And I know Nana loves you too.