Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Her Winged-Back Chair

As I left the Campus Drive facility of Maine Medical Center, I made the decision to drop in on Mom at her assisted living home which is just up the road. I knew I wouldn’t be sharing the great news of my ultrasound’s clean report or that I’d been told by my doctor that I’d finally “graduated back” to regular mammograms, but on some level, I wanted my Mom to reassure me that it was okay to breathe again. That everything was indeed going to be okay. 

I pulled onto the drive and the usual butterflies returned. They didn’t flutter the way they had when I’d pulled into the town of Millinocket in all those years of visiting Mom and Dad, but the excitement and anxiousness to see my Mom again was still inside me. I parked my car and I walked towards the glass lobby of the big beautiful white building. Would she be there in the lobby again? Most likely. She is happy in her perch. Her sitting spot gives her a window to the outside drive, but more importantly, she is able to see the comings and the goings of residents, staff, and visitors. I remember one day I brought to her attention that they were going to be showing a movie upstairs in the little theater room. She nodded sweetly and said, “Yes. But someone has to be here to welcome the company”. 

Sure enough, as I stepped into the little vestibule where the hand sanitizer station stands, along with signs requesting that visitors come on another day if they’re feeling ill, there she was. Mom excitedly began waving to me from her winged-back chair in the lobby of the assisted living facility. 

I’d stay for about an hour. I am learning so much about the variables of time lately, and of the paradox of how time doesn’t matter and how nothing else matters. I’d visited Mom  the previous week too. But as she saw me this time, she stood right up and smiled and said, “Oh my Goodness! I haven’t seen you in forever!”. I smile each time she says this. Gone are the days when I bemoan the fact that she cannot remember my frequent visits. I’m just grateful she is happy to see me, and that the love she has for me remains constant. Her reaction in seeing me, the hugs we share, the subsequent visits and repeated discussions about all things big and small, is all that is needed to reassure me that yes, everything is going to be okay. It’s perfectly okay to breathe.

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