“Tracey, can you please talk to your mom?’
Oh God, what now? Mom had called an hour ago, and she was irrational and angry. She had hung up on me in disgust, unable to express the cause of her distress. I’d hoped I’d be able to get to my Monday night yoga class as planned.
“She got outside. She’s trying to get out the fence. She’s yelling ‘Help!’ at people on the street. She’s got the phone and she won’t give it back. She’s picking up rocks and throwing them at me!”
Earlier, Karina* had attempted to give Mom a tranquilizer, but Mom threw the offered juice in her face. I don’t know how she managed to get out the front door, but she’d clearly been agitated for a while.
From the number on my caller ID, I could see that this latest call was from Karina’s own phone (since my mother had grabbed the house phone).
“Can you turn on the speakerphone so she can hear me?”
“Yes.” I could now hear the altercation from both sides. Mom was shrieking wildly.
“Mom. PLEASE. PUT. THE ROCKS. DOWN. PLEASE MOM. PLEASE PUT THEM DOWN.” I kept my voice calm but firm.
She put the rocks down. She went back in the house. She held onto the phone.
Dressed in my yoga clothes, I had been preparing to go to my class, but Bob and I went to Ramsey instead. I was warned that 911 might be called and I didn’t want to have to deal with police or emergency rooms. Bob was afraid Mom might try throwing rocks (or worse) at me, so he went along.
When we arrived, Mom was seated in the main dining area, calm as could be. The phone had been liberated from her clutches. She was glad to see us, if a little sheepish. She realized she’d been over-reacting to something and that her temper needed to be reigned in.
“I guess I have my father’s temper.” She had told me about my grandfather’s dark side (although I’d never seen it).
“Sometimes I think you’re channeling Herby” referring to my late father, whose temper was legendary.
“I keep losing him, that rat.” Uh oh. He’s only been dead for eight years now.
“You see him here?”
“Yeah, he comes for a while and then he just disappears. There’s never any intimacy. What’s his name again?”
Mom grinned and shook her head at herself. Not only did she keep losing him, now she was losing her ability to recall his name.
“It’s OK Mom.”
She was getting tired. It was after 8 pm and she’d worn herself out. Karina caught my eye and lifted Mom’s evening pill cup toward me to see if I’d dispense her meds. I nodded. She poured some juice as well and I took both cups to Mom.
She took them easily, throwing back the pills and drinking down the juice.
As we were getting ready to leave, Karina confided that as Mom was throwing the rocks, she commanded her to “Dance!” We all had to laugh at this.
Our job was done for the evening. Mom, the staff and the phone were all safe inside. The rocks were safe outside. And Bob and I returned to our home, where I did a much-needed solo yoga practice and wound down for the evening.
That was one rock show I could have done without. Thankfully, the set was short and sweet.
*Not her real name.