Friday, August 10, 2007

The Heart of the Matter

This week I took my mother to the hospital for a routine heart cath.
She is still there due to a strange twist of fate.
This is the face I remember most. Even when I look at her today, I picture this face.
I'm not sure why. It has been hidden under years of neglect.
This is the woman that would read me a story, wash and brush my hair, paint my nails
knit me a dress, make my sandwiches and kiss me goodnight.
She is the one that would dress in simple, tailored clothes and look like a movie star-
Tall, elegant and stunningly beautiful.
She was the quintessential hostess. Every year at Christmastime saw her busily preparing tray after tray of delectable delights for an open house that was the party to end all parties.
My favorite? Stuffed mushrooms. Julia Child's recipe.
They are the gold standard of hors d'oeuvres. I make them today, but they never taste the same as they did then. I think the magic is gone.
Chocolate cups, hand made by her, filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with crème de menthe were the envy of every woman in attendance. "How does she do that?"
I knew. With melted Hershey bars and foil muffin cups.
She is why I love books, of every type. Every Christmas morning found a new book under the tree. I was seven when I received Heidi, ten when The Count of Monte Cristo was added to my shelf. Anna Sewell, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Louisa Mae Alcott and other authors were added, filling my shelves with new and exciting adventures.
They were also my best friends.
I look at this face and see in it my two sisters. They missed this version of our mother.
I'm not sure when she began disappearing. It happened little by little, layer upon layer.
Hiding away from things, whether by an inability or refusal to cope, has consumed the woman she once was. It is becoming more and more difficult to see her.
She will come home today and embark on yet a new chapter in her life. I hope that as she is writing it, she looks to the past as a reference. That is where the lesson is, the one she will learn from. It is the springboard to her future, not the anchor she believes it to be.
She has a lot to look forward to.

7 comments:

The Feathered Nest said...

Oh Karin, what a beautiful picture of your mother!! You write so wonderfully ~ such a sweet tribute to your mom. Times passes and life changes us sometimes....I do hope that she's feeling better and that this procedure will help her ~ xxoo, Dawn

Aunt Jenny said...

I sure loved reading the tribute to your Mom. Keep those memories in your heart..they are YOURS.
hoping things get easier for ya!
Love, Jenny

GardenGoose said...

that is a very beautiful photo of your mom.

Brainiac's Daughter said...

I've always been a little jealous of you for this very fact: our mother was two different women for each of us, you at the beginning and me at the end.

She's always had a light about her, that dimmed with the years but will never go out.

Funny thing: where she gave you Alcott, I received an Edward Gorey coloring book. I wish I still had it.

Beautifully written tribute.

Dawn said...

...so lovely...
Beautiful tribute.

Thank you for stopping in to my place. Please come back very soon.

lindaharre said...

Your tribute could have been written for my mother:D Great moms are what made us who we are......and your tribute says it all! Unconditional love and desire to be the best mom and wife around:D My mother faded also with the wretched disease Alzheimers, but as the years pass I seem to forget the bad and only remember those GREAT YEARS! Hope your mom is doing better and that she will shine again.....hugs, L.

Vintage to Victorian said...

What a beautiful face! With a beautiful personality underneath, obviously. May you never lose those memories.