A Few Simple Words

Welcome to Real Life.  Sometimes, a few simple words can be so much more.
     _____

“I love that shirt on you. Is it comfortable?” Mom asked.

“Yep, it feels great,” I replied.

“You know, I like comfortable clothes. And if they look good, well, that’s even better.”

Simple words. A normal conversation. Yet, on this day, a normal conversation with my mother felt extraordinary. It had been a long time since we shared one.

My mother’s health was quickly deteriorating. As her body was breaking down, so was her mind. Her confusion poured out in fearful questions, “Where am I? Why do I feel so sick? When can I get out of here? Where’s Daddy (my father)?”

For months, a normal conversation had been beyond her ability. But, on that Friday afternoon, she and I were like two girls at a slumber party. I climbed into her bed, laid down next to her, and we chatted.

“We’re going camping this weekend. So, you won’t see me until Sunday.”

“Where are you going?” she asked.

“Pymatuning State Park. On the border of Pennsylvania.”

“Okay. Have a nice time,” Mom said as I rose to leave. “I’ll see you Sunday.” She smiled as I kissed her goodbye.

In this age of text rather than talk, Mom was a relic from a bygone era. In her day, people dropped in to visit. Neighbors sat down and shared the latest news over coffee. Ringing phones were answered in anticipation of who cared enough to call. Conversation was art and Mom a master of the craft.

Even at the care center, she won hearts with words. She asked the staff about their personal lives. She expressed gratitude as they cared for her needs. She blessed them with prayers. Often, they’d tell me with misty eyes, “I love your mom.”

As I left her room that Friday afternoon, I felt hopeful. Could this normal conversation be a sign? Was Mom turning the corner towards recovery? But, it was not to be. Three weeks later, she died.

Instead, our Friday afternoon conversation had been a gift. God gave me one last glimpse of the sweet mother I knew and loved for a lifetime. It’s surprising how precious a few simple words can be. 


My beautiful mother, Mary Salva,
left this earth to meet her Savior, Jesus Christ, on November 4, 2012.


Comments

  1. I love how you share personal stories of life in Christ. They are important reminders and an encouragement to me.

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    1. Thanks, Sean. Your encouragement means a lot! :)

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  2. I think we should have coffee soon Peggi!

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  3. Aww, bittersweet. It is hard to see our parents struggling mentally or physically. So sorry for your loss but happy about that last lucid conversation.

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  4. Those words are a precious gift, indeed, Peggi! You reminded me of how typical it was for someone to stop by at my childhood home for a morning cup of tea with my mother or an evening drink on the porch with my folks. In the evening, the attitude was that if the porch light was on, friends were welcome to drop in no matter what the time. And they did. I have gone from that example of generosity and friendship to being offended if somebody pops in without calling because they "catch me" with self or house a mess or not psychologically ready to switch gears from what I'm doing to what they "want." At 88 and 90, my parents have that same 'open door' policy from their down-sized manufactured home in Florida. I'm delighted to be able to get out there next week for one of those precious visits that will be close to the last - and I'll try and soak up some of their generosity of spirit!

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    1. Thanks, Shel, for stopping by and sharing your parents' love of company and conversation. I can relate to the struggle to switch gears and not be offended if someone pops in. In all my desire to accomplish things, my humanity suffers.

      Enjoy your trip! That's something I miss about Mom and Dad -- they forced me to slow my pace and enjoy the moment. :)

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