Friday, July 25, 2008
~My Mother's Smile~
My mother doesn’t smile much anymore. At 88 years-of-age, she’s had severe chronic neck pain for 6+ years now. Riddled with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, even the slightest movement is agony. After trying everything imaginable, the doctors finally inserted a pain pump. It pumps morphine through her frail body 24/7. But the pain continues. If they medicate her too much, she gets dizzy and falls. After two broken hips, upping the dosage is not an option. So she lives with it. She has no other choice.
In between studio time, I visit Mom. Getting her to smile is a daunting task. It doesn’t happen often, or easily. After my visit yesterday I realized that there are four sure things that will make her smile: Wendy’s Chocolate Frosties, fluffy white clouds against a blue blue sky, her great-grandchildren, and her brother Joe.
The Frostie is the easy part. After making a pit-stop at Wendy's on my way to the assisted living home where she lives, I wheel her out into the courtyard where we sit in the sun, enjoying the flowers, the birds…..and the blue blue sky! Smiling from ear-to-ear, looking up between mouthfuls of cold chocolate ice-cream she says, “Have you EVER seen anything so beautiful?”. Every day she says the same thing, as if she’s seeing that sky for the very first time.
Her great-grandchildren live out of town, but after their visits, she goes on and on for days, talking about Ella's eyes and Jackson's smile.
And my Uncle Joe…..he’s almost 80, doesn’t look or act his age, has a twinkle in his blue blue eyes, and goes to see his sister on all the days that I can’t…..and all the days that I can! He calls me as soon as he leaves her with his, “Mom Report”. He always says, “You workin’ hard, or hardly workin’?”! I just love him! Mom adores him. Born in Italy, mom was the oldest of the five siblings, and the only girl. Joe was the baby. She babied him as he grew up. Now, the roles have reversed. He babies her!
Visiting is not always easy. Oftentimes I sit in the car for quite a while before I go in, praying to God that I will find her in less pain.
There's one thing that makes me get out of my car and go in: I know that by the time our visit is over, and I kiss her good-bye, I’ll have seen her smile. Even if just for a little while.