Saturday, June 22, 2013

Looking back with gratitude

A mother's gaze, June 2012.
Last June I traveled to Maryland to assist my sisters in preparing our mother's home for the real estate market and to say a final farewell to her.  Saying goodbye is a simple gesture carried out by most of us on a daily basis.  But those goodbyes most often assume the very real likelihood of future hellos.  This one felt final.

After some private time in her room, we made our way to the dining room where I felt it would be easier on us both to have a task to attend to, then transition with a hug and a kiss and ...well, then I would leave.  Here she is holding a bit of soft food in her mouth, managing the milieu and her daughter with unwavering grace.  Look at her gaze, how she latches on to my face, how she leans in as if to emphasize her commitment to the moment.  I too shared that commitment; there was no where else I wanted to be.

As it turned out, we were blessed with more time together.  In January of this year, I traveled to Maryland with Josh to see Mimi and be intentional with a final goodbye.  Josh had not seen her since 2008, a lifetime ago by any number of measures, but with Alzheimer's, the changes were indeed many.  What was unchanged was their easy comfort with each other and their mutual admiration.

Head to head, without words, January 2013.

Much has unfolded since last June.  Our mother is no longer living, yet her presence is palpable.  Suffice it to say that this grieving process is ongoing and I continue
to put one foot in front of the other, and I remember.  Oh, how I remember.

1 comment:

  1. You gave mom what she wanted the most: your loving attention and an open heart. Bless you sister.