Phyllis

2014-09-16 04.10.01
Mother’s neighbor Phyllis almost never speaks. She coos—she smiles—she loves to hug and dance but speaking—not so much. But today she and Mom and I began singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and to my surprise and delight, I heard her sing the lyrics. The more we sang, the clearer her voice became. She stood behind me—hugging me, pounding my shoulders to the beat and swaying to the music. Fabulous!

Here is Mom’s equally fascinating take on Mount Rainier.

20110614_mtrainier2

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Friends

mom and kathleenIt’s so comforting to know that Mom has a host of friends in Assisted Living. I visited today and walking through the halls, we met her neighbor Kathleen. As the three of us sat by the aviary, I indulged in one of my favorite things to do—listening to them chat.

I’m very linear—always looking for an answer. They are content to just sit and go wherever the conversation takes them.

Today it was the birds.

Kathleen: “Do you think they are lonely? “

Mom: “Do you think they understand each other the way we do?”

The questions interested them far more than the answers.

As I left, Kathleen assured me, “We enjoy each other.”

Today’s picture and the model.

2014.9.2 painting
2014.9.2 model 1

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Loveable

2013.1.29 paintingMother is so loveable and loving.

As we walk through the halls, she stops to tell each nurse and care-giver how beautiful they are—how lovely their clothes are. They in turn beam and tell me how much they love her.

And today—uncharacteristic for a dour Scottish Presbyterian—she lavished praise on the two of us—“We are wonderful, marvelous and beautiful.”

True, she is fading—her cognition fainter—but I prefer to think that she has been distilled to her essence.

Loving and loveable.

The Model
2013.1.29 model

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Saying Goodbye

2014.1.14 paintingDon’t Panic. This isn’t the big goodbye.

Mother is here for the long haul. Since the 1850’s, her family has been living into their mid to late 90’s. They tend to announce when they are going to die and—right on schedule—they do.

But Mom is going to FORGET to tell herself to die… That‘s my story and I’m sticking to it.

No, this is the daily goodbye.

Normally we hug. As I leave, Mom will tell me, “Don’t work too hard.”

But lately she hasn’t wanted the visit to end. As I leave, she walks out with me with every intention of going where I go.
She looks up at me trustingly and I feel like I’m giving her the bum’s rush.

So today, we walked out together and marched back together—singing “Goodnight Ladies.”

Then a HUGE HUG. “Don’t work too hard.”

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