You know, somehow I think at an unconscious level, I knew mom wasn't going to survive much longer when we were in Tahoe. Even before our first night in Tahoe, when we were driving there, mom and dad were both telling me that they weren't sure of mom's health.
Anyway, we made it to Tahoe, had an OK night, and went to sleep. I put my earplugs in because dad snores so much. The next morning I find out that mom was up much of the night with chest pain. I slept through it just fine thanks to the ear plugs. After I awoke, they told me that they would be most comfortable with flying home immediately so that they could see mom's regular doctors.
We booked a flight for the following morning, which left the rest of the day for us to fill. On of my most vidid memories from that day, is me taking mom into Harvey's table game area, to show craps to her. Remember that mom really enjoyed playing slots, and I wanted to show her the enjoyment I got from a lively craps table.
Dad was up in the room, and it was just Mom and I at this craps table. I introduced mom to the dealers that I've come to know over the years. I let mom roll for me, and I really didn't care about making money myself, but I really only wanted mom to have one of those amazing rolls where she makes everyone at the table lots of money. Unfortunately that didn't happen. Instead she rolled 2 or 3 times, and then 7nd out.
I didn't care so much that she didn't make any money, but that she didn't experience the thrill of having a hot roll where total strangers think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I know it is superficial, but it is always exciting. Mom told me she was going to play some slots, and then probably head up to the room. I said I'd continue to play craps... and I did for a little while.
Mom ended up at a slots machine within my view, and I began watching her more than I was watching my own craps game. I can't completely describe the moment, but there was a sadness to it. Perhaps I was just sad that we weren't going to get to have that trip across the country as we'd planned together, but I think at an unconscious level I knew that she wouldn't be alive much longer. Maybe it was the way she moved, or the look in her eye. But there was something there that made me do something that I normally wouldn't do... I walked away from a winning table to go play slots with mom.
I hate slots. I hate to play them, I hate to watch other people play them. But this time was different. I somehow had the sense that I was spending some quality time with mom that I soon wouldn't be able to do. We had fun. She seemed so much happier playing after I joined her than she appeared to be having alone. Unfortunately I can't remember many details of our conversation, but I remember feeling very close to her and us both being happy despite the fact she was leaving the next morning and we weren't going to drive across the country together.
Just before we went upstairs to our room, she decided to do something she had never done before... play $5 slots. And wouldn't you know it, after about 10 minutes of play, she went from $50 to $350, and then she called it a night. She was so happy. We both new things were about to get bad for us, but for a brief while that night, we ignored it and had fun.
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