Sweet Beginnings and Endings
As I walked across the LSU campus from an early Board meeting at ClarinetFest this morning, I heard the familiar ‘Ahhhooooogahhh!’ emanating from my cell phone. The special ring that tells me it’s Heavy D trying to reach me. Since Lindsey programmed Mom’s cell to dial me with one number, she has gotten brave about calling.
I answered the phone and she immediately burst into her morning song…(to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’)
“Good morning to you!
Good morning to you!
Good morning, I love you…
Good morning to you!”
Her serenade was followed by a round of giggles that made me smile. While her breathing issues- caused by pneumonia and congestive heart failure- have changed her voice to a much weaker version of the voice I know and love, it is still sweet. Hearing her sing and laugh made my heart so happy.
There have been many sad days for Mom and me over the past couple of weeks, but I am seeing improvement. She still has not-so-good days, still has some fear about the future, but she is holding on to her wonderful sense of humor. That is the key for her. As long as she does that, she will make it.
I am seeing our relationship shift yet again as I take over more and more of Mom’s needs and responsibilities. Her world is shrinking down to a hospital bed, a wheelchair, and daily trips to physical therapy…but her world also includes visits from caring friends, old and new.
I find that instead of feeling burdened by the additional duties, I feel even more tenderness toward Mom. I sense our time together slipping away, and know that each moment, each memory, becomes even more precious as the days pass. My love for her only seems to grow, sometimes feeling like my heart will burst it is so full.
Diane and I got home from dinner and went over our presentation for tomorrow. When we finished, we settled into our beds to read and unwind. There again came the ‘Ahhhoooogahhh!” from my cell. I was impressed and proud- Mom had managed to call me twice in one day. I answered and a giggling voice said, ‘I’m here!” (One of her favorite phrases since her fall, letting people know she’s still kicking.)
It was difficult to understand her weak voice sometimes, but I heard the laughter, the smile in her words. She just wanted to tell me she loved me. I love these bookends from my mother, starting and ending my day with sweetness. More beautiful memories to store away…priceless treasures.