The first sign of Mother's problem was not being able to get to the bathroom in time. Next, it was the choking. Later, Mother had difficulty swallowing. The doctor confirmed that Mother's nerves, one by one, had ceased to fire; and therefore, her muscles, throughout her body, were atrophying.
At last I knew why my mother didn't seem to smile anymore. She hadn't lost her zest for life or her joy; it was simply that her smile muscles no longer worked. I knew why her voice weakened and cracked and sounded as if she were drowning in gravel. I knew why she couldn't lift her head high, or write legibly or get out of a chair or walk on her own. I knew why my once soft mother seemed to be turning more and more to stone. I knew, but I didn't know what to do about it.
"Heart Sounds" is the story about the journey with my mother through her final years, our coming to grips with her need for a nursing home, and our struggles with her imprisonment, both in EverSpring and in her own body. It is the story of her growth into tolerance and understanding of the other "inmates" and of our own growth together into a deepening, more mature love for each other.
This is a story of not giving up and not giving in. And because it is a true story, it is filled with humor and sometimes with fear, often with exasperation, but always with love. It is a story seldom described, but universally experienced.