Mostly Companion, written by Caitlin

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Mummy, Kitten and Chickie, Jamaica 1988

At some point when I was little, my mom and I started referring to one another as our “mostly companion.”  It probably grew out of the time I was having surgery when I was 11, and was in the hospital a lot.  We would get overly tired, stressed, and…really silly.  We were absurdly often at our funniest when things were worst.  I guess that is common for people in trying health situations, and it’s a nice silver lining.  The other day, in the hospital while I tried to eat lunch, my mom put on quite a show of impressions and we were laughing so hard. The game was to do one small word, look or movement from a movie…not a whole line.  Her imitation of Salieri yelling “MOZART!!!” from Amadeus was the best…she has an incredible man-voice that she harnesses from deep within. Oh my goodness, maybe you had to be there.

I don’t write much on the blog, but today is the day to do it.  For those of you who know us well, I am so close to my mom that it sometimes terrifies me.  Maybe it terrifies her too. I know how lucky I am to have a mom like her, and parents like mine, and our situation — my situation — has made our link stronger, and sometimes that’s scary.  We both know that there will be a time, hopefully, strangely, where I am well again and we live apart like typical adult mother and daughter, and we will look back on this time with nostalgia. Right now we are  suspended, and we do puzzles together and watch Mad Men and she gives me leg massages, and everything, good or bad, is heightened. Everything makes me cry these days, good things more often than bad — so there’s a lot of appreciating that goes on.  But its also draining, exhausting.  Living in the moment is a good adage, but like anything, there can be too much of it.

My mom is doing everything for me, she has uprooted herself.  My dad is living alone in MA when he is not here, and I know its hard for him in a way I can’t imagine. Andrew is back and forth as well.  Here since December though, non-stop, has been my mom.  She cooks, does the laundry, listens to me, sits with me in the ER, in the hospital…she even feeds Henry homemade food that she makes herself. Here in Pittsburgh, where she knew no one, she has made friends and found interesting things to do, always finding something to be enthusiastic about.  Even writing this now is making me want to be more like her, and I feel even more thankful just putting it into words.

She has somehow found time to write everyday, and has since July 1st, circling the date in red when she is done — she has remarkable follow-through with things.  It has taken me over 2 months to gain 4 pounds, and I WOULD NOT have been able to do it without her.  When you get evaluated for transplant, part of the evaluation is making sure you have a good support system, because it is so vital to how well you do.  This might seem hard to grasp to a healthy person who thinks that ultimately, you can get through anything on your own if you really have to.  I am telling you – haha – you can’t.  You need people, and I wouldn’t be here without her.

I am also aware on a day like today how hard it must be for some people, who have to be painfully reminded each May that they don’t, for whatever reason, have that relationship.  It reminds me again that everybody has some kind of pain, as well as some kind of good in their life, and that none of this is a contest.  As hard as it is being sick and being here, my mostly companion and I are having some laughs.  There’s probably a lot of people out there with great lungs, and no mummy.  Everybody is just trying.

As it usually is when you love someone so much you can’t put it into words, everything I have written here feels inadequate.  But most of you already know what a great mummy she is, I am just here to tell you …that she is even better than that, and that I love her so so so much.

happy mother’s day!

9 thoughts on “Mostly Companion, written by Caitlin

  1. Katie

    Here, here! Wiping the tears away, because I’m laughing so hard at the Salieri impression AND am choked up at your beautiful tribute to your beautiful mom. In this regard, we are all very lucky – thank you for sharing, and thanks, Mare, for all you do for Caitlin. Mere words fail.

    Reply
  2. Cathy Fitzgerald

    Caitlin, I can’t wait to meet you some day! You and your mom are so inspirational. What a beautiful relationship you have with each other. Love and hugs to you both. You are in my prayers. Cathy (a friend of your mom’s from tennis). xo

    Reply
  3. juneymoon76

    Caitlin, this is so beautiful. I’m having trouble seeing through my tears. I’d say you’ve inherited your mom’s gift for writing! She IS a great mom and she’s beautiful and fun and most of all, she’s blessed to have you!
    I LOVE your “mostly companion” picture!

    Paula

    Reply
  4. reggie

    Caitlin, what an unbelievable woman you are of such wisdom, vulnerability, courage and love that compares to no other in my life. Opening my eyes wide, I feel you are near that gift…I’m praying for you & love you and the beautiful ever so loving Mama&Papa.xx
    Mostly companion resinates deeply as i weep with joy knowing you have companion mostly.Your buddy far away, Reggie

    Reply
  5. Liza

    Oh, Maryann,
    This is a love letter, and such a treasure. I am swallowing hard, here. What a blessing to have had such a relationship, and this post, a poignant reminder to hold in your heart.

    Reply
  6. mjroseauthor

    I never have words for these posts… I know its never enough time with someone you love – but at least, at least, you had this amazing daughter and got to share so much with her and that you gave each other so much love. I often get solace when I miss my mom in knowing we couldn’t have loved each other more… it doesn’t make me miss her less, but makes me happier. xxxx

    Reply
  7. Susan Needleman

    Maryanne….This is such a special treasure for you to have. I know there must be more because Caitlin, like you, was a wonderful writer. You have your memories, your photos and all of Caitlin’s writings and drawings. You had a rich and treasured time together. It should have been longer. Thank you again for continuing to share these treasures with us. Thinking of you and Nick.

    Reply

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