I’ve started talking to my father as I stand by the barn, looking up at the grove of cedar trees. My dad has been gone twenty-five years now, but I feel his spirit with me very strong recently. I think he’s trying to let me know that it’s okay for my mom to go now. I’m sensing that it is nearing the time when she will be able to be with him again. Almost each day now, I spend some quiet moments imagining what it might feel like to be in my mom’s place. She is almost blind, very deaf and so fragile after the hundred years of joy and hardship that she’s had on this earth. How does it feel to sit in her comfy armchair most of the day and just wait for what will happen next, drifting near and far from what is to what was?
When my daughter and I saw Nana on Saturday, I told her that a member of my husband’s family whom she loves dearly is going to have a baby. She was so excited and happy. I also learned from my mom’s roommate that the night before she had one of her nightmares where she started screaming in her sleep. Since I was a little girl, I have had to leap up in the middle of the night to shake her when she begins to wail and bring her back from that world of war and horror that has haunted her since the 1940’s. Before she moved to the nursing home, I would wake her up from the nightmares and she would insist that there was a woman under her bed, screaming through her pillow. Now, medication usually helps keep the demons away.
This morning, I called to check in with the nurse to see how things were going. I talked to Cindy, my mom’s favorite, who told me that my mother cheerfully announced to her that Victoria is pregnant. Cindy tried to explain that it wasn’t me, but my mom refused to listen. And really, what difference does it make if she spends the day happily feeling like she did when I really was about to have her only grandchild? It was one of the best times in her life, and if she is able to re-live it in her mind right now, so much the better.
As if keying into my thoughts, Clarissa Pinkola Estes posted on FB today about the way that one never stops weaving the story of your life:
“And we take up the fabric and mend the places of mind and heart. body and spirit, where the threads broke from hard life, long use, or from lack of iron when first laid in long ago...
and then too, taking up the needle to strengthen those threads that have held, gone well... tightening down the rows with the comb. If one can, weaving in one more row, pulling down, then maybe again there will be room for one more row again...
and as always, working on the hand knotted fringes that are there to let us sway a little from life lived to best of our abilities... surely we have not just a hard won right to sashay, but a responsibility to sashay sometimes.”
My mom has always loved to sashay, and I am a little uncertain about how to do it here, but I'm going to keep trying. I feel like I owe her that.