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This week, I experienced something that may seem so insignificant to some, especially if you’ve not seen how much Mama has changed this summer, how little she’s responding in her movement and expression, but to me, it was the memory I’ll cling to past the end and I’ve learned if I don’t write it down, well, you know.
Dave and I arrived at Mom and Dad’s as Patty was feeding Mama a little ice cream. Mama was in Daddy’s recliner which she has now hijacked from Daddy and which we find comical; it’s become her spot. As is the norm now, she had almost no movement, other than to turn her head to look at us; she had no attempt to hold the spoon, no attempt to wipe her mouth. She just took in the little spoonfuls and tried to swallow. When Patty finished, I went over and sat beside Mama and held her hand. As the TV was going in the background and the others were talking, I looked her in the eyes and talked quietly to her as she stared at me intently. I’ve found so often lately the quieter we talk to her, the more she “hears” us and focuses on us. She would occasionally try to smile or even chuckle which can be her automated response at times and then immediately turn it off as quickly as it came. I told her how much I used to love laying my head in her lap and her rubbing my hair and I asked her if she remembered that knowing there would be no response but we still ask. She stared at me. I then started to rub her hair, that gorgeous gray hair of hers of which she’d be mortified it was not frosted as it has been all those years, but she seemed content. After a few minutes, I stopped, and just laid my head down on the arm of the chair beside her and looked away from her thinking she was about to doze off. I was lost in thought, in the TV, in the conversation in the room, when I suddenly felt Mama’s hand move and then feebly, she raised it and laid it on my head. I can barely type this…. it sounds so simple but to my heart, it was monumental, because those movements are gone and have been gone. I froze. She raised her hand enough to lay it on my head and in her feeble effort, tried to rub my head, and grasp a curl next to my face. I didn’t want to move or even breathe because I didn’t want her to stop but I called for Daddy to see it and we couldn’t believe it. It didn’t last long and her hand shook as she did it but it seemed an eternity to me. When she stopped, I let her hand stay there a moment, and then I turned to look into her eyes and said, “You remember, don’t you?” and she smiled. She smiled. She smiled. I know she remembered…
I can’t adequately explain all that was going through my mind at that moment. For so long, she’s been drifting further and further away, no responses other than occasional attempt to say something, unable to raise her hands to hug except feebly on occasion… imagine hugging your Mama and she is unable to hug you back… but to know her mind allowed her for those brief moments to not only understand what I’d said but to remember what I’d said long enough to respond with a physical act of love… it makes me want to jump up and down, cry, hang on… such tiny moments that created the greatest gift! I am thankful to Mama but I’m so thankful to God for giving her those few moments, for giving me those few moments. It’s the little things that become the biggest things… I love you Mama.