The evening before Mom's last ambulance ride, she asked me to come over to help her get ready. I fetched washcloths, towels, tubs of warm water, and ointments for her. I helped her wash her back.
Later, my brother, my mom, and I were sitting together in the Red Room (that's what we call the little room that basically serves as the den at Mom and Dad's house--it was there in her recliner where Mom spent almost all of her time those last few weeks).
Mom ran her fingers through her hair and wondered out loud what she could do about her hair. "I don't want to scare the ambulance drivers when they come get me," she joked.
That's one thing about Mom. She was very sensitive about her hair. When chemo caused her thick, auburn hair to begin falling out, she shaved her head and bought a wig.
(See here: Being Kathy Dorn or I'm so vain, I probably think this blog is about me: No Rhyme, Some Reason: and here: Being Kathy Dorn or I'm so vain, I probably think this blog is about me: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.) When her hair grew back, it came in gray and curly. But more recently, it had started to thin a little. This aggravated her to no end.
My first suggestion was to go get one of the wigs she kept upstairs for the grandkids' dress-up adventures. I think this lovely purple wig is still up there in the bin. Purple has always been a good color for her.
Or, I said, what would be totally awesome would be if she had one of those realistic horse face masks. Imagine the medics coming in to find a woman with a horse's head sitting in the recliner. I got out my iPad to show her a picture of what I was talking about. Mom said she could just hear them asking her, "Why the long face, Kathy?"
We had some good laughs as we checked out other possible masks. Laughs that I'll cherish for the rest of my life.
The dinosaur: "I told you I was old!"
The fish head: "My skin seems a little more scaly than usual." or "I'm having a hard time breathing."
Or maybe the squirrel: "I'm feeling squirrely." or "Got any nuts?"
As I left that night, I made a mental note to order a mask or two. You know, for her next ambulance ride. But there was no next ambulance ride. In the end, she didn't wear a wig or a mask. She didn't really need one.
But I'm still considering ordering some masks anyway. We could wear them in her honor at the celebration for her life. Or the next time we order a pizza. Or, you know, on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday.