I stop by to check on Meems every day. Most days I find her parked in front of the TV in the common room sleeping. Sometimes, she's asleep in front of a window. Macular degeneration has robbed her of idle pleasures like watching Lifetime movies and working jigsaw puzzles. Sleep makes hours go by.
She can't see who I am until I'm right next to her. I tap her leg gently and lean my face towards hers. Her eyes slowly open, and then, her face slowly blossoms into the most beautiful smile. Melts my heart every time.
"Yep. I was missing you, so I came by for a hug," I'll say.
"I'm glad you're here," she'll say.
"Me, too," I'll say.
These visits with my sweet, tender mother who gives love pats while she hugs have become my soft place to fall. Life is very uncomplicated in her world. My world swirls with emails, phone calls, and people. Her world is quiet and peaceful.
I pull her wheelchair up close to my chair so that we can hold hands during my visit or she can pat on me. She tells me a bit about her day. Bingo. Fun and Fitness. Someone came and played the piano. For my mother who once lived life in technicolor, the pace of her new residence is perfect. The clock ticks slowly. Meals are served at 8AM, noon, and 5PM.
"It's almost dinnertime," she'll say.
"It's only 4 o'clock," I'll say.
"I like to get there early," she'll say, "Will you roll me to the table before you leave?"
Sitting there at her place at the table for an hour is comforting to her. Breaks my heart a little bit every time. But, she is content.
Every day she says, "They take good care of me here." And, that makes me feel content. They brush her hair. They help her apply her favorite coral lipstick. They spritz her with perfume.
Grateful doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.
I consider this time with her an undeserved blessing from God. Many of my friends have lost their parents. Some are dealing unpleasant issues involved in caring for aging parents. And, the issues are many. Among my many blessings is the fact that she has aged with a sweet disposition. My dad was a whole different story. His passing was like a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. He was unhappy all day every day and very vocal about his circumstances. I've learned that a good disposition is a gift you give to your children.
Gosh, I'm making myself cry right now. Guess I'd better head over to Meems' for some huggin' and pattin'. Come join me. However, I must give you fair warning. You will leave her presence feeling sleepy and relaxed. Very, very sleepy. Tenderly relaxed.