Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Way You've Changed My Life

Today I spent several hours with my 95-year-old mother, who has been in hospice care for a
Mom and I doing some leg lifts last summer.
little over a week. We don't know how long she has, but as D. once so aptly said about my father in the weeks before he passed away, she's winding down. 

Ten days ago, as her frail yet strangely resilient and willful body was jostled onto a stretcher (with great care but jostled nonetheless) for the trip from the hospital back to her assisted-living facility—where we would initiate hospice and 24-hour aides—I thought: You'll never have to go anywhere again. This was good news for her, but it made me sad.

These are the words that came out of my mouth to D. yesterday: "She was my first friend, my first love, and my first ally." 

The person I am today is more due to her than anyone else in the world.

This afternoon, as my sister dashed home to attend to some pastries rising in her kitchen and the aide stepped out for a break, I held hands with Mom—lying in her bed, her feet lightly moving under the sheet—while a CD of old musical numbers played. This song filled the silence like a chest expanding:

The way you wear your hat.
The way you sip your tea.
The memory of all that—
No, no, they can't take that away from me.

The way your smile just beams.
The way you sing off-key.
The way you haunt my dreams.
No, no, they can't take that away from me.

We may never, never meet again
On that bumpy road to love
Still I'll always,
Always keep the memory of . . .

The way you hold your knife.
The way we danced until three.
The way you've changed my life.
No, no - they can't take that away from me.
No, they can't take that away from me. 

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