Mom's house is making the transition from being a home, to being a history: and my job here, is to make sure, as she approaches a similar transition, that she does not have a stranger at her bedside.
One lesson is that I have to be the family, I want to have. If that makes sense. Another lesson is that, yes, we are each alone in this body, this nautilus shell that makes the noise of the ocean, which is a fanciful way of saying we are all alone..and never, never alone. What I'm learning is that making mistakes doesn't make you a bad person, but repeating mistakes does make you an ineffectual one...learning to face facts without being defeated by them, seems to be a useful thing. Learning that forgiveness and love, really are more important than "being right" and "keeping track". Not for abstract moral reasons, but because it works better. It just works. Better.
What makes sense, is doing what's in front of me. Doing the dishes; making the oatmeal with dried cranberries that Mom finds tasty and will therefore actually eat; doing the laundry; trying to sort out my finances, her finances, the cat's finances...give me a finance and i will leap into action. My financial action usually consists of staring uncomprehendingly at a statement; entering things into Quickbook; accidentally erasing said things from Quickbook; calling the insurance company/financial institution/ credit card company and attempting to explain to a seemingly endless array of voicemail options and uninterested people in foreign lands, why they are wrong and can I have my money back now, please?
Maybe all we can do in the end, is what's right. Maybe if I do what is right, the phone will ring and my brother will say "Can I talk to Mom?" Maybe if one just tries a little more every day; loves just a little more than the day before, forgives just a little more than 12 hours ago, catches one's self when one falls into old patterns of anger, or entitlement, or selfishness...maybe one day you wake up and the "good" has finally pushed out the "bad".
"Darling", Mom calls out excitedly from the next room. "Come in here quickly! I just noticed that the dogwood tree has tiny green shoots on it already! Look at that! Spring will be here before you know it! Won't that be nice. I can't wait to see the snowdrops again."
I am making Mom tea, now. I can see through the huge kitchen window, that both a cardinal and a heavily pregnant red fox are framed against the white snow,both motionless for this minute, vivid red against the sterile, seemingly hopeless white landscape. In a minute, the cardinal will fly away and the fox seek shelter against the coming evening and the steadily mounting snow.
In two weeks or three, there will be green shoots of snowdrops, where the snow is now. The momma fox will be nursing her tiny red pups. The dogwood's green shoots will be turning into white flowers with vivid orange crosses in the middle. The world will once again be a chorus of kept promises. The snow will be a memory.
And maybe, this time? The phone will ring, and my Mom will join the rank and chorus of those who get to come back to life, to hope and to promises unbroken, in the springtime.
Meanwhile, my other brother and his wife are driving through the snow to be here tomorrow. Meanwhile, tonight, I take in the tea.
Happy Almost Spring.