Saturday, August 10, 2013

Waverly, OH (visit to Muffy)

It feels so good to be taken care of and to take care of another.  I'm in Waverly, OH with my mother visiting my grandparents.  Shortly after we arrived, my mother read down a list of chores with which my severely visually impaired grandmother needed assistance.  Setting up the humidifier, looking through mail, reading a Tylenol bottle, fixing a Furbie.  Throughout the afternoon my grandmother told memories of her life, stories about herself, anecdotes about her intelligence and talent, opinions and ideas that she holds, lots of facts-some accurate, some in need of an internet search-glimpses into her life of feeling lonely and afraid, stressed about the needs of herself and her husband who lives in an assisted living home a few miles away.  The chores were nothing.  A scaffolding of something more that is needed.  

I felt tired and a bit like I was getting a cold, but my grandmother kept talking, even as the humidifier remained unopened in the box 8 hours after our arrival.  She commented how I must be tired and still a bit jet lagged and I mentioned my feeling of weariness to her.  And as we completed another chore of her trying on some clothes that my mother had bought for her, she insisted that I lie on the bed, put up my feet, close my eyes.  And at my curiosity she explained in detail the way that she boils an egg and how she peels it, a quest for perfection that I may never achieve.  Her attention to detail touched me.  Her care for telling me how it should be done felt so loving.  

Somewhere behind the streams of words and distractions, behind the fear of being alone and unloved, is someone so loving and wanting.  The tenacity of her love and care is in the way that she holds a hand upon saying hello, the way that she hugs.  As difficult as it can be to sift through the words, the definitions she has placed upon life to bring sense and security to it, the subtle (or not so subtle) judgement that we family members can feel in her questions and comments, I can feel the depth of her loving in the way she cares.  As I was lying on her bed, resting while she took off her clothes, I couldn't help but feel a deep sense of trust, the sense of a safe place despite the insecurities of life and old age.  I don't remember most of the things she said today, nor do I think that they are really what she was saying.  But I hope I can take that feeling of trust with me and share it on her behalf.  

No comments:

Post a Comment