Someday…and Their Love

Dad and I both had quivering chins and tear filled eyes. Becky, the music therapist from hospice, came again today. Dad requested love songs. And so Becky strummed her guitar and sang out one beautiful old melody after another.

She sat closest to Mama, who didn’t respond in any visible way to the music. Mom was settled in her recliner, mostly sleeping the whole hour. But across the room, in his recliner, Dad made requests. And his face lit up. Sometimes he clapped his hands and said, “That was good!” Sometimes he smiled and his eyes shone. And at least once I saw him wipe away a tear.

From where I sat I could see Mama’s pale, peaceful profile and Dad’s changing emotions. We enjoyed Tennessee Waltz and Let Me Call You Sweetheart and I Love You a Bushel and a Peck.  And many more I can’t remember the names of now.

The one that especially touched me though was “Somewhere My Love”. Dad used to play it on his keyboard. The melody is hauntingly beautiful, the words equally so.

Somewhere, my love,
There will be songs to sing
Although the snow
Covers the hope of spring.

Somewhere a hill
Blossoms in green and gold
And there are dreams
All that your heart can hold.

Someday we’ll meet again, my love.
Someday whenever the spring breaks through.

You’ll come to me
Out of the long ago,
Warm as the wind,
Soft as the kiss of snow.

Till then, my sweet,
Think of me now and then.
God, speed my love
‘Til you are mine again.

by Francis Paul Webster and Maurice Jarre. Also known as the Love Theme or Lara’s Theme
from the movie Dr. (Doctor) Zhivago

As I heard Becky sing these lyrics, I looked at Mama. Her eyes were closed. She was so still and unresponsive. I actually looked to make sure she was still breathing.

And then I looked at Daddy, his face so full of life and love and emotions, and my eyes filled with tears as I saw his do the same.

And though there was honestly sorrow in the tears, for what Mom and Dad have lost, there were also tears of hope. Because I picture them meeting again in heaven someday. And then Daddy will have his eyesight back and he will be strong and able again.

And I can just picture him looking for his first glimpse of Mom. And Mom will be vibrant and full of life and health. She will sing with Daddy again. Her face will light up for him like old times. And most importantly she will have her memories back. And she and Daddy can share them together once more.

I see the joy in their faces as they find each other again. I see the long hug and embrace. I can picture Jesus watching them and smiling.

I’m thankful Mom and Dad still have each other now. And I’m so grateful I still have them both. But I am immeasurably more grateful that they both have put their faith in Jesus, and have the sure hope of an eternity with Him to come.

 

 

 

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A Mother’s Touch

I tucked Mama into bed for her nap today, after lunch, and climbed in next to her for a little cuddle. And then Mama said, “You’re ‘purdy’.”  And my heart was warmed.

And I chuckled to myself and thought, Oh, if only she’d said that to my face instead of my back. 

“Thank you, Mama. You’re pretty, too,” I said. I wanted to face her, but she usually gets agitated when I do that. So, I kept my back to her.

And she patted my back and rubbed my arm. I sang, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”– one of the last hymns she still sang herself up to a year or so ago.

The fan on the nightstand blew a gentle breeze over us. And Mama’s soft touches and flutter taps were sweet on my back.

From where I was, my head on Daddy’s pillow, I could see an old photo of Mama framed in gold on the wall above his dresser. Mama was young and healthy and gorgeous.

 

The photo was taken before Mama married Daddy. Before she gave birth to four children and raised them. Before all the meals she cooked for her family. Before all the dresses she sewed for her little girl. Before all the laundry she washed and groceries she shopped for and fevers and scrapes she worried over. Before all the Christmases and birthdays and holidays she made so special for us.

The photo was taken before Mama invested her life into loving us all so well.

I turned over to face Mom. I combed her white hair with my fingers. I held her wrinkled face between my hands. “You are beautiful, Mama. You are so beautiful.You have been a wonderful mom to us all. I wish I’d been a better daughter to you.” And my eyes filled.

I wanted to climb into her arms. I wanted to be her little girl again. I wanted to have her warm hug envelope me and have her stroke away the fears and hurts and hear her say, “It will all be okay, honey.”

But she started hollering, because my closeness was agitating her. So I rolled back over and she calmed down. And she patted my back again, with her arthritic hands. And she pulled on my shirt here and there. And her fingers flutter tapped my arm.

But I felt the gentle touches…such tender wisps of mothering. And I smiled.

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There Was a Little Girl

Mama has less to say these days. She mostly hollers or talks gibberish. I can’t remember the last time she said my name. And it’s been awhile since I’ve heard her say, “I love you, too.”

But today, as I cuddled her on the love seat, she wrapped her hands around my arm. And she said, “There was a little girl.”

“Yes, Mama,” I said. “I was your little girl. And you were my mommy. I love you so much.”

She patted my arm and gently rubbed it. She said, “I hoped so.” And then she said some things that didn’t make sense. And then she started counting, “Four, five, six…”

And the moment was brief. And I’m not sure what she meant, or if she was just speaking her random words. But I want to believe that a part of her knows that there was a little girl. And that it was me.

And I hope she always, always, always knows how very loved she is.

She’s My Baby

Last night, like most nights now, I fed Mama her supper. She doesn’t pick up her spoon much anymore, so I mostly feed her myself and she mostly cooperates.

She tends to study me as she’s eating these days and often reaches out and touches my face or gently taps my arm. Sometimes she asks questions that I can answer. Sometimes she hollers her outrage. Sometimes she speaks garbled words that I don’t understand.

When she finished her meal, last night, I helped her walk down the hall and got her changed all clean and fresh. Then I guided her back down the hall and, holding her gait belt, directed her as she took tiny, shuffling steps to the love seat. She sat down next to Dad, and I tucked her in with a cozy throw blanket.

As I was getting my coat on, to go home to my own supper, I heard Mama say, “She’s my baby.”

And I smiled.

Still Making Memories…Because We’re Both Here

I walk in the door and see Mama in her rocking chair. “I’m here!” she says.

“I’m here, too, Mama.”

I warm up her chicken and rice and broccoli and cut it into smaller pieces and coax her over to the love seat so I can hold the bowl and help her as she eats. Her appetite is good, and she eats all her food.

I get Mama up and into the bedroom, so I can change her. She shouts and swears some and says she hates me. But I don’t believe her.  I get her cleaned up and though she’s usually anxious to go find Dad, today she climbs into bed as I put away the supplies I used and wash up.

“Oh, so you want to take a nap? Should I take one with you?”

“Sure,” she says. I lie down facing her, and hug her and stroke her hair away from her face. But after a minute she starts shouting, “Go home! Go home!”

“You want me to go home?”

“I suppose so,” she answers. I turn over in bed so my back is to her, the way my Dad sleeps because of his sleep apnea mask. And now Mama cuddles up to me, with her head against my upper back, and puts her arm around me and gently taps my back and then my tummy, and it tickles a bit.

I’m guessing maybe she thinks I’m Dad now. But the pillow is soft, and the spot is cozy, and my Mama is tucking me in close to her like she did when I climbed in next to her as a little child. And for a few moments I’m back in my place of safety in a storm, where a mama’s love comforts away bad dreams and shadows in the night. I’m next to my mama, with her arm around me, where nothing can hurt me. Where the world is safe. Who knows when or if I’ll have this chance again?

So I snuggle in. And I hear Dad turn his audio book on in the living room, so loudly I can clearly hear it even though I’m on the other end of the house. And the fan blows a cooling breeze on me. And Mama pats my tummy and stays close.

I soak in the peaceful moments. I smell rain in the air through the open window. Mama says random words here and there and asks little questions that I don’t understand, but try to respond to.

And then, after fifteen minutes or so, Mama decides it’s time to get up. Our cuddle is over. I follow her into the living room and settle her in the love seat with her feet up on an ottoman. “I love you, Mama.”

“I love you, too,” she replies.

I lock the door as I leave. I hear thunder in the distance, as I get into my car. And as I drive home I think, how I’m thankful for these moments with Mama. And I’m grateful that she’s here. And that I am here, too, for every precious memory that we are still making.