Bye - Curious
I wanted to take a few moments and offer a dual post before heading into a very full remainder of the weekend.
Bye - Because of the early death of my dad, my mom's 89th year has given me a baptism into the realities of aging and, more significantly, the entire cauldron of emotions that are aroused in the process. My wife and I, along with all three of my adult children, surprised my mom by flying to San Francisco on Tuesday, and then renting a car and driving south to Fresno, arriving about 10:30 to surprise my mom for New Year's. I walked into her apartment in her retirement center and she was asleep on the edge of her chair, her head bent over as she breathed deeply. She woke with a start and once she saw us, broke into a broad grin. Something about the whole scene, the combination of frailty and joy, vulnerability and gratitude, combined to create a moment, the first of several over the past several days, where I needed to force myself to hold back tears.
We spent lots of time looking at pictures, both of our own children when they were young, me when I was a baby, and my mom when she was a beauty, newly married and skating on the ponds of Evergreen Colorado, where her new husband was stationed in WWII. I'd fight back tears again when I visited her sister, who was stricken with encephalitis several years ago and has never been the same since. She's not able to communicate much at all, and looked quite tired when we visited in the early evening of new year's day. But when my wife said, "Your sister's here to see you", though she said nothing, you could see her eyes light up. I watched them, sitting together, and though back to the many years when these two women were the exemplers of strength in my life. My mom in caring for a husband who was stricken with pneumonia each winter; my aunt in supporting her husband as he shepherded a growing church in Fresno for 25 years. When he called us together to join hands and pray, I fought back the tears yet again.
We were down in Fresno because my mom is needing to make a move to assisted living and I wanted to be there when the news was delivered. She resisted but, resigned to reality of it, looked at me on the day we were leaving and said, "aging is no fun at all" as she hugged me and told me how much she loved me. One more time, I managed to hold back the tears as I told her how much I loved her too.
We left on Friday and it was then, when I walked out the door as mom, sitting in her chair smiling and thanking us for coming, said good bye, that the tears finally won the fight. I knew that as soon as we left, she'd start thinking about the reality of her upcoming move. I knew that she'd be sad. I wanted to stay; wanted to comfort her; wanted her to be young again... but none of that is reality. I said "bye mom", as I have thousands of times over my half a century of living, and walked out the door. Never was that phrase more poignant. The family walked straight ahead to the car. I turned left, walked behind an adjacent building and cried my eyes out for thirty seconds before putting on sunglasses, getting in the car, and driving to San Francisco. Those tears where the release of three days, maybe three years, maybe thirty years of emotion; much more than I'll ever share here. But they were good tears, and somehow, in her aging and vulnerability, I'm learning a great deal about myself, my soul, the realities of how brief life is, and what it means to live in this fallen world.
Curious - There are way too many compelling movies in the theater right now and for a family that's presently on a tight budget, I hope you'll help me out by telling me what you've seen, what's a must see in the theater, what can wait until video, and what can wait forever. Here are the movies that interest me:
How can so many good looking movies be available at the same time? Please help me, and others, invest wisely, by sharing your reviews and investigations.
Happy New Years...and thanks for graciously reading a 'dual post'