She is impossibly frail, her skin hangs loosely like soft laced patterns. Her breathing is labored, her heart is racing and yet still she hangs on, she smiles as those she loves surround her. She has faced almost 10 decades of living. She has faced Worldwide Economic Disasters, a World War, and many family and personal tragedies, and she's come back with her smile strong.
Now, in the tender hours I listen for her breath as she once did for me. A time or two I even put my finger under her nose to make certain that she still is breathing. I try to sleep to the gentle life rhythm of breath. Yet the knowledge that I make awaken to find her gentle spirit has flown keeps me awake.
How did the years pass that brought us to this place? I simply could not have lived 57 years. I look into her face and see so much of my life looking back. I also see HER life lessons that have taught ME. More importantly I see the heart and soul of this beloved woman that I call sometimes very simply Ma.
I want to shield her from pain, from sorrow, from struggle, as she has done for me all of my years. With all of the protecting she has done for others it's amazing that she's filled with holes as a shield held before a warrior.
So many images remind me of her. A Pioneer bravely marking a path for others to follow. A Traveler coming to a river at the end of a day, stopping to build the bridge. Not because HE will need it again, but because someone young is following. It takes courage...faith...optimism...love to be the woman she is, and has been.
One of my favorite images fills my mind. A school day, I rush down the stairs to hustle into my morning routine only to find my Mama dancing and singing to the radio. Her joy at greeting the morning turns my grumpiness into smiles, and I head off into the unknown wilds of the teen years smiling, not realizing until years later the precious gift she had given me.
So bitter...so sweet to face the parting of your best fan club, someone who thinks you are beautiful (even when you are really not), someone who ALWAYS believes that you can, and somehow because of that you DO.
I love you Mama...thanks...thanks again...and please keep dancing in Heaven...all those Angels need a Smile!