Last night I was reading to her from the Bible. I kept saying Genesis, because we were reading the creation story....and she kept cracking up like crazy. Her laughter is deep and contagious.
me: "what's so funny?"
mom: "Sounds like you're saying "Jonatha"".... so we spent the better part of an hour coming up with names for new books in the Bible. lst Jonatha followed ll Corinthians, then the book of "Stone" (my mother's maiden and pen name) following Phillipians... "whatesoever is good"
mom: laughing and laughing....
I treasure these moments. Then, she reaches for my arm sometimes when she's confused or in pain. And I know, in this new territory, unconditional love. There is no greater feeling than our silent bond. That current of "I am here for you, no matter what."
I may have shared this poem before, but it's one of my favorite mom poems. When I was in Boston recently I drove by my grandmother's house. I would spend a day every week with her, cleaning, grocery shopping, having lunch or just sitting on her beloved screened in porch with the flag stone floor....she could tell me about every bird that came to her feeder. Her name was Amelia Behrhorst Stone.
Order in my mother's house
Alone at eighty-three my mother set her table
twice a week for company, walked out a daily mile
and kept in touch with friends and family by phone.
Each time I visited she took me on a tour around
the rooms naming the treasures and their origins
as if they were celebrities; Seth Thomas clock, brass
candlesticks, a walnut table, Queen Anne chairs,
the Hummel artifacts, fifteen Italian plates. I hardly
played them well, those scenes rehearsing ordered
history; I was polite but most impatient to be gone.
Now in these rooms without her voice, in silence I
sit wondering how this has come about so suddenly.
Lighting a candle I detect dust on our portraits, find
a cloth and wipe them clean along with bookends,
grandma's desk, a doll. Then all at once the continuity
that gave my mother joy seems irresistible; I yearn
to hear her say "Before you leave, there's one more
thing I want to show you dear."
The tears fall out of order in my mother's house.