Thursday, April 20, 2006

Musing on love

My Mom's disease is progressing fast. Faster than we could have imagined. I am sad. I am so sad. In the span of a week she has gone from communicative to near catatonic. From a bright vibrant soul to, well these just aren't words that I'm ready to say.

But in this week I have witnessed love. Pure love.

I have watched my Aunt lovingly bath my Mother. She was a nurse and her hands were strong and sure of their movements, remembering an act she had performed on countless patients in a former life. But they moved with such tenderness. And she spoke in such soothing tones, explaining what she was doing and expressing love. My Aunt is sick and weak herself. It took courage and strength for her to drive herself an hour to my Mother's home. But in a time where there really is very little any of us can do for our Mother my Aunt saw something she could do to make my Mom more comfortable, and she did it. She did it despite the personal toll it took on her strength. She did it because she loves her. Sisters share a special bond. I know first-hand because I've got a little sister. It was beautiful to see what that bond looks like after a lifetime of sharing. Never have I been more grateful that Bird is my beautiful baby girl instead of the much longed for boy. Pork Chop and Bird will be another link in the chain of sisterly love. I'm happy they will have that bond in their lives. It is a beautiful thing.

I have seen a child's pure love for her Grandmother. Bird was outside playing all day yesterday. In the afternoon when she was tired she finally came looking for me. I was laying on the bed beside my Mom. Bird wandered upstairs calling for "Mommy." But upon entering the room she spied her Grandma and I don't think she could have been happier if we had just announced that she could eat nothing but cookies and ice cream for the rest of her life. Her face just lit up and she screamed "Grammy." Nothing could keep her from the object of her affection. She climbed on the bed with me and crawled across to her Grammy. When Bird saw that my Mom was sleeping she changed to a whisper "Grammy" and rubbed her arm. She gave her a kiss and ran off to play. The love of a child is so sweet.

I've seen the power of a Grandmother's love for her granddaughter. My Mom is weak and unresponsive. But her eyes opened when she heard Bird's voice. And when Bird kissed her my Mom's lips moved as if to kiss her back. She has such little strength, and she used it to kiss my baby. It breaks my heart that Bird won't remember how cherished and adored she was by my Mom. I hope I can make her understand and feel it.

And I have been blessed enough to witness the love between a Husband and a Wife after more than thirty years of marriage. I once read a book that said love is like water. Sometimes it stays below the surface nurturing a relationship like water in the soil feeding the roots of a tree. And sometimes it is like rain that falls all around you. I thought that was the most beautiful and accurate description of love. But I see now that it is wrong. Love is a living organism. It can grow and flourish, or whither if left unattended. My parent's love has been tended to all these years and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Before my Mom stopped speaking I witnessed my Father attending to my Mother. She fought him over her medication. She was angry, I think mostly at her inability to make her body work the way it has all her life. He was as patient and as gentle as could be. Ignoring her anger, quietly explaining everything over and over. Calming her. Taking care of her. When the episode passed he tucked her in bed and they kissed. They shared a look that I feel fortunate to have witnessed. I can not explain the love that passed between them. But is was tangible. It was living. It blanketed them, and everything else in the room, including me. It was a love that has grown for over thirty years of kisses and fights, shared joys and worries, shared struggles and triumphs, shared lives devoted to one another. I am truly blessed to have been part of that love.

When my Parents were first married they read Watership Down outloud to one another. It was always one of my Mom's favorite books. Last night my Father sat up reading it outloud to my Mother. She may not be able to talk to us, but I'm sure she loved it. His voice is such a soothing, smooth, deep baritone. Resonate. Calming. I heard him on the baby monitor reading to her. Such a loving thing to do. So sacred to their relationship, part of their history, I felt like an interloper hearing it on the baby monitor. I turned it off the give them their privacy. I hope the Greatest and I can grow such a love together.

While I feel fortunate to have been a part of so much love, it is beautiful, gives comfort and strength, I am also sad. And angry. Part of me wants to scream at the disparity of such injustice in the midst of such beauty. I want to call God himself out of the heavens and demand a lengthy explanation. I want to collapse in a heap of raw emotions and sob until there is nothing left but quiet. I want a million things that I can't put into words.

But most of all I want my Mom.

I love her.


Janis said...

Thank you for sharing. I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for updating us on the board.

What a gift your family has of love.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. I'm thinking of you so much these days.

Your SP

Chris said...


Katrina said...

You have a way of writing that is so touching; both heartbreaking and inspirational. Thank you for sharing the evidence of love you see all around you in the middle of your pain.

I am thinking about you and praying for you constantly.

mama_tulip said...

I was just thinking of you this morning.

When my mother was dying I was struck by the beauty that I found in her and around her every day. I was sad and scared and angry and desperate and yet I saw so much beauty. I wondered how it could be, how I could see such beautiful things in such a terrible time in my life. It was amazing. It is amazing.

I'm so glad you have seen such love.

Areli said...

Thank you for sharing this. Your love for your mom and the love in your family inspires me to remember what is important and not let petty things get in the way.

strangelittlemama said...

I'm crying with you, sweet mama.

shizzknits said...

(((hugs))) to you and your family.