......................(photo by ex')
(Craig Christina Chloe Mother)
In the weeks prior to Christmas, my Mother, at 85, after a lifetime of no illnesses, had been feeling more and more tired and her positive outlook on life was waning. My niece, who is local, a nurse, had been doing the heavy lifting; the groceries and the emergency room and doctor's visits. I arrived home and out of tearful necessity our roles reversed and I began for the first time in our lives to cook and do for her.
At 3:00 a.m. on Christmas morning she was in pain and with my niece we went again to the emergency room. She was having congestive heart failure.
She was admitted, due care was taken, she improved. In the night her heart stopped and she was resuscitated, which was as about as ironical as life can get. It turned out that the paperwork testifying to her wishes that she not be resuscitated had not made it into her chart.
Several touch and go days ensued at an excellent full coronary care hospital and she then spent three weeks rehabbing in a nursing home.
What you might ask does this have to do with my Mother getting a bathing suit. Well, she very slowly began to be able to eat solids and normal portions. Her outlook improved and as a testament to wellness and recovery she set us to making plans to travel the four hours to Cape Cod to see her Granddaughter and Great Granddaughter (Miss Chloe).
The timing of the visit was predicated to coincide with the visit from London of my ex wife, who my Mother adores. Yes, we were going to travel 400 miles to see my ex wife. (I am not at all sure whether we are a socially generous and classy family or lopsidedly dysfunctional but let's for now continue the story.)
With purpose a forethought I booked us into the Sheraton in Eastham which has a very attractive atrium ceiling covered indoor pool.
Plans were made for Chloe et al to come for a swim and I took my Mother to a department store to look at swim gear. I'm not sure she was ready but I gave her little choice and foregoing logic, it was after all a shopping trip.
Modestly miraculous in this day and age a salesperson appeared and helped her.
I next met her on the other side of the store as she came out of the dressing room area, holding on to her carriage for walking assistance, with a blue bathing suit held up to show me.
She smiled. It was the breathtaking smile of unfiltered childish rapture combined with the smile of a heretofore heavy woman (now 35 pounds lighter) who found in the mirror a long lost physically attractive self.
With no exaggeration or hyperbole I can honestly say that her smile was so not an ordinary smile that I was for a moment confused and had to look with my mind as well as my eyes to understand what joy she was transmitting.
My sense is that a number of distant Buddhas paused to see this smile.
As we traveled away from the store she said, more than once, "I should have bought both suits."
Labels: Buddhas, Chloe, Creative Writing, DNR, life's ironies, my Mother