Do you ever experience a moment that you just want to hold onto forever and ever? One that puts you in a wondrous space, giving you a heartfelt warmth, right down to your very toes. But starting from the top of your head, tingling down, with a happiness so joyful, you stop and wonder if anything can be more special than this moment. Yesterday I was given that. Yesterday I saw it in her face.
Two weeks ago I had a plan with my oldest daughter that we would be coming up to see my mom and bring her a gift…to see face to face her youngest great granddaughter for the very first time. And possibly, hopefully, get a four generation picture of mom, me, my daughter and my granddaughter…mom’s legacy. So with the task in hand that Friday night, I went into the trailer located outside the nursing home for the fifteen minute covid testing routine with some questions in mind. Bombarding the local resident Covid tester, I wanted to make sure that we could all see up mom. I had good news. Of course, better news would be good warm weather on Easter Saturday and we could be outside while mom watched her great granddaughter do her thing….get into mischief as any 2-year old would. LOL.
Well kerplunk! Nah dah going to happen. For the very next day, twelve hours later, on the Villa’s website, only essential caregivers can come in. Talk about bursting ones bubble. Like any type A personality, you go to plan B for back up. So being Alice in Wonderland looking through the looking glass, we will go to the back of home and see mom in her window. She looks out across the field and public sidewalk nearby to see the many birds and squirrels and strolling by people which means she can see us. The happy sad thing for me was on that Friday evening as well, it was going to be the last time I could hug and kiss her (mask kiss), hold her hand in both of mine. Lord, I am going to miss that.
Anyway forward two weeks to yesterday we drove the three hours cross country and straight to the home. Texting my oldest sister, she would be waiting for us at mom’s window so she can direct mom’s eyes to us. Thankfully the sun is out but holy moly Easter Saturday fare, it is nippy outside with the cool breeze and calling for snow. Are you kidding me!! Not having been behind the nursing home, the ground was soggy like they had a big rain. We wore warm coats and hats but not mucking boots nor wellingtons. Come on! Seriously. Oh well, my granddaughter does not care. And wouldn’t you know it, we stood by the window seeing my sister in her bright orangy pumpkin shirt waving away at us. She texted me to say….mom is in the washroom. Which is code for a long wait as she is wheel chair bound and cannot do for herself. Timing.
But a brilliant idea passed between our texts….take mom to the other hallway with the big glass exit doors. Best. Idea. Ever. For I saw it in her face. We walked up the cement stoop, wrapped with steel railings, to a huge double doored entrance. And right before our eyes, mom and my sister watched us. The moment my mom saw both her grand and great granddaughters, I teared up. My throat started to tighten and a smile crossed my face as my mom sat there, staring so unbelievably beautiful. Mom’s eyes spoke volumes, crinkling in mirth and happiness. Her face shone a light so bright, no words needed. My sister sitting beside her, taking all kinds of pictures of my mom’s face, shed her own tears. Old softie. LOL. How could I tell? Because the glass shield was fogging up a bit between her mask and shield. Oh my sister. I know.
Could one give a better gift? I think my daughter had a bit of an inkling the importance this moment was for all of us. Especially for my mom. My mom has not met either of her granddaughters to date so this was a hallmark moment to the nth degree. Thank you so much daughter. Of course, the little one cooperated for a hot minute then as any good wee 2-year old would do, off to be distracted. But thankfully for many minutes, she was present to my mom and my mom, bless her soul, she ate her up. That is the only way I would describe it.
Chuckling now as mom fights dementia within but she was quite coherent and determined as my sister held my mom’s hand back. For there on the door was a long steel bar handle which you push to get out. Oh my goodness, mom wanted to open the door and allow us to come in. Or she wanted to escape. Not sure which was on her mind. Hahaha. My sister kept shaking her head and my mom’s face got that stern look she would always give us when unhappy. Nothing has changed in that regard mom. But at the same time as my mom reached out her hand, feeble but eager too, she sought out a touch. I know that to be true.
Oh, those hands of mom’s so withered and worn, held and tended all of us, shakily extended out, seeking her own people. She saw me in the corner of the doorway as I did not want to take away any part of her concentration. Recognizing me still. So grateful that my sister was talking with our mom, relaying what we were saying between the glass. What my mom witnessed was a love between daughters and mothers. Four generations before her. Can it be a more graced moment!
One second gift was watching my dad as he looks at his great granddaughter too for the first time. Hold her. Hug his granddaughter. He watched and observed, finding it amusing as he decided to share that the little one was similar to me. Words like stubborn, too busy, mind of her own, not listening. Hey, not nice. Seeing the family tree extending because of him and mom, I love that he reminds mom each visit (as I know he does) that all the images on her wall started because of her (and dad). And giving witness, we did sit together as four generations, on behalf of mom, together.
So Easter Vigil, where darkness turns to light, happened on this day for me. It takes me to the many years while participating in the Easter Vigil mass where we gather in total darkness. Then a single light burns brightly, cascading a single ray, and then turning sheds its light to another, lighting a way, then to another. Oh it happened yesterday for I saw it in her face. I saw it in his face. And I felt blessed to witness love beautifully expressed. Bless your hearts. Always.
Happy Easter. In this season of renewal and rebirth, may you feel your day, your faith, breathe in new life and your heart made fresh with the hope Easter brings.
Let us pray for those who are in need of prayers this day.