This morning, like every morning, I went over to ask her how her night was. Dad had her out on the deck surrounded by bird song and five flowering baskets from mother’s day.
She sat quietly, a little queen in her corner. I asked her how she slept and she got a mischievous smile. She had a dream, she said, that she was pregnant. She was a little worried that people might think, “Crazy old lady, what is she doing pregnant?”
But in her dream she was happy to be pregnant. She said, “It was my baby.”
I thought of the days my mother was young. There is a photo of Mom at about 31, holding my oldest brother Nelson while pregnant with her next child. No one can doubt how full of new life she is, standing quietly holding it all.
I told her, “Maybe it is a sign that even in this season of things breaking down, you are full of new life.”
We talked about how she is experiencing great joy, peace and love each day. She said she liked my interpretation of her dream; that it fit. Mom is more expressive of her love for everyone than she has ever been. She seems at relative peace with her losses in this season of endings. “Everyone has to die,” she has said, with a little smile. She laughs often. Her body so frail is spilling over with beauty.
I know others might not see it as I do, and I don’t always see it this way either. But I am bending over her being each day and am taking in each moment with new eyes, knowing more than ever that each day with her is a gift. Like parents who can’t stop talking about their little child, and can’t get over the miracle growing in their arms, I can’t get over her growing beauty.
Others may see her listing to one side of the wheelchair, stuttering over a word, drooling, or looking distantly across the room and wonder at my delight in this season. I don’t deny the sadness. It is there, and I take my turn with tears. Her tiny body seems to be shriveling up and disappearing. She is so small now in her recliner; it seems to fold in and hide her away. She sleeps more, eats less, forgets more, and words are harder to say.
But as her body fades and fails, her essence soars. Her spirit flames. She shakes with the fullness of her life and the rich stories of love layered within. She can’t get over the flowers and the blue sky. To her they are a new wonder every morning. She is full of new life. She is quietly holding it all.
–Miriam Blank, Gap, Pennsylvania, is a professional counselor, spiritual director, and certified life coach. In the past Miriam worked 15 years as a registered nurse and certified nurse-midwife.