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.