Monday, September 14, 2009

That Was Then. . .

As I looked at her sitting in a wheelchair, her body broken from illness, silver curls atop her head, I could see the life still hidden behind her eyes.  She could not speak.  Her metal rimmed glasses hid pretty blue eyes that had no doubt seen many things over the years.

I wheeled her into her room which was decorated with photos of family and friends sharing a life well lived.  The smell of alcohol and sickness permeated the space.   I stared at the black and white collage dancing on the wall.  I looked back at her.  She was watching and wondering.  I asked her if I could look at the pictures.  The widening of her baby blues was her only response.  

And there it was...a wedding photo of her in a striking long white dress made of lace with short cap sleeves and a cathedral length veil adorned with mini white flowers.  Her hair was long and dark brown with cascading curls falling upon her shoulders.  A dark shade of lipstick outlined her smile.   A large bouquet of pale colored roses she held in her hand.  I asked her if that was her and she faintly nodded her head.  I told her it was beautiful.  Then I saw a tear starting to escape from the corner of her eye.  

I couldn't help but wonder what was going through her mind at that moment.  I wondered if she felt trapped in that body.  I wondered if she always felt sad.  As I looked at her trying to console her I thought about how each of us is headed to a similar fate.  We will all get older and with any luck be around when we are old and gray.  It reminded me of how much I need to enjoy the moments I have now when my mind and body are well.  I hated telling her I had  to go.  And when I stepped out the door of her room and looked back at her I was the one wiping away a tear...

 Do you ever ponder the future or  live in the moment?  Have you ever had a similar experience where an elder has taught you something in a brief moment of interaction?

1 comment:

sherry ♥ lee said...

So poignant Cathy.

I live in the moment every day. There are times I will think forward, but not too far and it is only recently that I have begun to plan for anything even a few months in advance. Not fear...more me just not getting ahead of myself as I used to do. I've learned that the day I have is "the one" for any number of reasons and not just breast cancer. As I'm getting older, I realize there are other illnesses or possibilities that could befall me.

My mother-in-law is 93 and healthy, still living in her own house. We go once a week to do things she finds difficult and one day this past summer she was talking about her fiance before she married my husband's father. He was killed during WWII and as she reminisced she asked me what I had been doing during the war! It wasn't so much that she is confused...it was more that she was lost in that time and was fully in those feelings.

I look at her and her long life and how blessed she's been with her health...never a problem as such. And I look at myself and at times wonder...will I live to be that old...and just as quickly decide it really doesn't matter. I'm just seriously happy to have the days I've got which turned out to be more than I thought I'd have when I was diagnosed.