Mom, as usual, is on her bed, facing the wall, wrapped in a soft green blanket I gave her for Christmas a couple of years ago. I touch her shoulder and say softly, “Hi, Mom.” She turns, and recognition and love sweep across her face. “Hi, darlin’.” At these words, I am wrapped in her love and deep knowing of Me. Kathy. Specifically. I bend over and we kiss and wrap our arms around each other. “It’s so good to see you,” Mom says, and hugs me tighter. The power of love, and the place it has in our embrace must give off a glow, enough to light the small, darkened, cozy room that is hers. I sit in the chair near her bed, and hold her warm hand. We look at each other, deep into each other’s eyes. There IS joy amid this painful time, and only by my being there often can I stumble on a moment such as this one.
After awhile, she is ready to get up, and is eager to go outside. A quick trip to the bathroom for Mom is in order, accompanied by the kind and gentle staff member in charge. Then we walk out to the patio. Mom declines the chair, asking if she couldn’t walk around the sidewalk that circles the outdoor courtyard. I’m delighted that she wants to, and that she has the energy. We admire the flowers and shrubs as we go, pausing to breathe in the fragrant basil growing in a large planter. I notice that there are some cherry tomatoes that are ready to pick, so I gather some, and Mom savors the sweet tang of late summer captured in the red orb. Only one, though, thanks. We sit on a nearby bench and enjoy the air. She comments on the cloudy skies, wondering if rain is coming. We breathe in the cool air, fragrant with moist earth and grass from a recent downpour. I am so happy I came. We are content just to be, sitting until it’s time to go.