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Thursday, November 5, 2015

A certain age

It is disconcerting to look in the hotel room mirror in the mornings, before eyeliner, and see my father's face, see my brother's face, and know that face is mine.

My dear Ellamae, the sweet warrior spirit I have been writing about, is not as robust as she was in the summer. Not nearly. Then we sat at her dining room table, next to the window, the sunlight pouring over her Shona sculptures on the terrace beside us. She was always smartly dressed, with large interesting pieces of jewelry at her neck, around her capable looking wrists. Now she stays in bed, propped on pillows, wearing lovely pinstriped pajamas with lace piping. Her body is giving out. She can no longer ride the exercise bike or do yoga in the afternoons. She is thinner. When she goes to the bathroom, she moves much as I remember my mother moving in the time before the end, her legs uncertain, the caregiver coaching her on. "Come on, Doctor, next foot now, next foot."

I sit at her bedside and read her life story to her, and sometimes she catches my hand and brings it to her cheek, her way of saying thank you.

She will be 98 in March.

I have grown to love her so.


14 comments:

  1. You were meant to do this. And I don't even believe in that stuff. But you were. Meant to be this woman's voice.

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  2. Stunning. Just absolutely stunning.

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  3. How moving this description is.

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  4. I look in the mirror and see my grandmother's face. I'm told by my aunts that I am the exact image of her mother, my great grandmother. I never met her, so I wouldn't know. I'm sorry your friend is fading. I hope she gets to see her book published.

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  5. You have made me cry, too. Savor this time.

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  6. A beautiful tribute to someone who has become dear...I await your book about her.

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  7. What a beautiful, quiet post. I imagine her so deeply grateful for your work, and I know how grateful you are for her story.

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  8. You are so lucky to experience a friendship like this.

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  9. What an incredible experience for the two of you to share. You've done everyone a service by helping her record her life while she is still able.

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  10. An amazing timely coming together so her story will be told.

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  11. You know, I read this and I just stopped. That is something I rarely do. It feels good to stop though and think of everything at once while simultaneously thinking of nothing at all. You are extraordinary.

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  12. I am grateful that you two came together

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  13. The tears are still stinging my eyes. Thank goodness you found each other and she is able to hear you read her story to her. I'm sure she has grown to love you as well. What a lovely tribute, what a moving and beautiful post. I will see you reading to her when I finally get a copy in my hands.

    I am equally disconcerted to see my father's eyes looking back at me from the mirror, and his hands on my computer keyboard. Even my mother was shocked by the similarity of our hands at our last visit.

    Safe travels my dear friend.

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