Saturday, June 22, 2013

House of Love




I lean over her aging face ~
upside down ~
and kiss her soft cheek.
She is lying diagonally across a hospital bed in her bedroom.
The bucket of water and pitcher sit next to my Dad's bed.
Towels, shampoo and conditioner lay on it.

I dip the pitcher into the warm water and as Dad sit on the bed and tenderly supports her,
the water pours over her head and splashes into the large bin in front of me,
wetting the fine, thin white hair.
Fragrant suds of tea tree oil and peppermint fill the room
She closes her eyes and relaxes.

Massaging the scented suds out and rubbing the lemon-sage conditioner in.
I talk softly of no-nonsense things.
I reminisce of days long ago...
of her washing my long, blond hair in the kitchen sink when I was a little girl.
There was lemon-scented shampoo back then, too. 

I watch Dad gazing at her face as I wrap her head in a towel.
Classical music swirls around the room from the bedside radio.

It's a an hour in my life that I treasure each week.

The hairdryer blows warm air as I create soft waves in her hair with a round brush.
She still has beautifully silky hair,
although it is much thinner now.
Pink scalp showing through the snow white.
Her eyes are closed once again
as she tolerates my fussy brushing,
teasing, and hairspraying.
Tucking her layered strands behind her ears,
she looks like she used to before her dementia diagnosis and stroke...
if only for a moment. 


I hear Dad in the bathroom rinsing out the tubs and hanging up towels
as I set a small square bucket on her lap.
Soapy water sloshes back and forth and I ask her to put her hands in it.
She opens her eyes and looks blankly at me,
but her hands attempt to move into the warm water.

I wash her hands and scrub her nails,
encouraging her to play in the water a bit.
Her pale fingers move back and forth as she holds my face steadily in her gaze.
"Does that feel nice, Mom?", I ask.
Her head nods ever so slightly.
I dry those aged hands.
Hands that have held me,
touched my face in love,
and waved goodbye to me.
Hands that I've seen clutched tightly in pain
time and time again.
And then opened in relief.


I pick up the nail file to file her nails short.
Hands....wrinkled.
Skin....thin.
But so soft to the touch.
Toenails are next and more difficult.
Her toes are curled under and crooked.

I tuck her into bed for an afternoon nap.
She's exhausted.
She looks beautiful to me laying there on the blue sheets.


Piano music floats softly from the room next door.
Dad is playing his cherished piano now.


Source

I smile.
A self-taught pianist.
A handwritten list of hymns propped up before him on a pad of lined paper.
He doesn't know how to read music.
He plays from memory.
Trial and error.
His wish is to someday sit at the big organ in his church
and attempt to play something.....anything.
Fear and uncertainty hold him back.
But a maestro when caring for his beloved wife.


I stand in the hallway between the two rooms.
Mom sleeping peacefully in one.
Dad praising God in the other.



Love has filled the house.
It is palpable.

I embrace it
and 
tuck it into my heart.





~ Blessings  ~


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50 comments:

  1. It felt like I was there. Thank you for sharing this very special moment with us. Blessings, Martha

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  2. So beautiful Laurie.... a very special post. Your mum is fortunate to have you, and other people who really love her. Thinking of you and your mum, prayers from me xxxx

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  3. What a beautiful post and tribute to your parents - they truly are blessed that you're their beloved daughter Laurie.
    XOX

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  4. Tears tears and more tears what a beautiful post.....owww how i miss my mom......!!

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  5. This is so beautifully written. Thanks for sharing it!

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  6. so heart tugging, laurie:)

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  7. Lovely post, beautifully written.

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  8. So precious dear Laurie... hold those memories you tucked in your heart so very tightly... but let them come out often... she will always always be that beautiful young lady you call mama... that very same one who washed YOUR hair and made everything right with the world... I love your mama and your daddy... and you too dear friend... prayers and blessings to all of you... and even though we have never met, I know you well... this time spent with your mama is more priceless to you than any possession you own... I know that because you and I are alike in that way... love you sweetie, xoxo Julie Marie

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  9. What a beautiful moment in time to you've captured and shared with us. So precious. God's richest blessing to you and your parents Laurie. Patti

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  10. You made me cry. Thank you for sharing such a sweet, beautiful moment in your life! Blessings of peace to you and your precious mom and dad!

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  11. What a beautiful tribute to your parents, Laurie, but you made me cry. Although my dad has been gone for seventeen years, I am fortunate that my mom, who is almost 89 is doing very well. xo Laura

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  12. Getting old, each moment of our parents'life is precious. You give it back to them the love that you have received. It is not given to everyone. You have a big heart and courage.
    Blessings

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  13. Oh Laurie, what a beautiful post, I have tears running down my cheeks, and I feel the love the three of you share right through my computer screen. You are a truly special person. (((hugs))) xo

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  14. Laurie,
    what more can I say its been said above! Brought back memories of my mama! Have a lovely day!

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  15. My dear friend,
    Your words moved me and wake me up in the great love ...... my mother died when I was only 23 years-I still miss him :-(
    I'm sending lots of love and hugs ♥♥♥

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  16. What a sweet post, Laurie. I know this is not an easy time, and you choose to focus on the love instead of the trials. May it return to you a thousand fold!

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  17. What a beautiful post!! Much love to you all.

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  18. So beautifully witten, Laurie. Very moving.

    <3 Christina

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  19. and you have spread more by sharing it all right here. soak it in, laurie. that's what it's all about. what a beautiful, radiant soul is yours. thinking of you and them and smiling.

    michele

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  20. You have captured some beautiful moments Laurie- ones that you can treasure and remember when life changes and your loved ones have passed on. It is a touching moving tribute and I read it with tear filled eyes.
    Regards,
    Anna

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  21. Laurie that was so beautiful. I have lost both of my parents. I had to read this to my partner with tears running down my cheek. Dementia/Alzheimer's is such a terrible disease with the family. I am sure she feels the love from you and your dad. Even though she looks blankly at you, love is a special feeling and I am sure she feels that. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us, and those words and the pictures were so moving.
    Dianne

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  22. Your post brought tears to my eyes. My mother also has dementia and has not known me for a couple of years.it breaks my heart she was such a loving mother and now we can love and take care of her. We have so many good memories. Thank you for this post. I really needed this today. Yarlette

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  23. Oh Laurie...your writings are such a treasure. Your parents are so fortunate to have you. May God richly bless you for your love and care of your parents.
    Blessings~

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  24. God Bless you for taking care of your parents....I pray that my children love me enough to do the same for me one day, if the Lord allows.

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  25. God bless, my friend. I can feel the love in every word. What a beautifully written post. xoxoRosemary

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  26. Oh friend, this is so beautiful. Your love for you mama shines so bright in these tangible ways of caring for her physical needs.

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  27. this is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. so wonderful and it must be so uplifting for your Mother to have her hair washed, she has to feel so much better afterwards. I can almost smell the heavenly scents too ♥

    you are a beautiful writer. this should be published !

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  28. Laurie,
    ...and all those things Mary pondered in her heart."
    You, dear one, have painted exquisite detailed pictures with your voice!
    Tuck them away, close to your heart...
    for your memories will remain with you, cherished forever.
    Never to be forgotten. . .
    Fondly,
    Pat

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  29. I have a deep lump in my throat because I have walked in your shoes. It is a hard, hard journey with no good Earthly outcome. I know that God knows her heart and has her and your Dad in the palms of His hand- xo Diana

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  30. What a beautiful moment straight from the heart <3
    Blessings,
    Sarah

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  31. What a wonderful daughter you are. I had those chances but am squeamish about some things (like smells), and I just couldn't do it. SO sorry I've been since she passed away. I wish I had the chance again. God is building a -special- home for you in Heaven. You're amazing.

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  32. Laurie, this post brought tears to my eye, remembering when my mother was so sick with a brain tumor and my dad and I taking care of her. My mother was my world and best friend and I cherished every moment and still cherish every memory. She was my sunlight. I am so sorry I am very behind with blogging via the move and my MS. Thanks you for this post and filling my heart with such beauty and remembering my PERFECT mom!!!

    Cynthia

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  33. So beautiful Laurie. Memories of taking care of my Mother are fresh again. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Hugs,
    Peggy~PJH Designs

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  34. Such a touching post, Laurie! I think you are both blessed. Thank you for sharing.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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  35. What a beautiful and touching post. It brought a tear to my eye as I thought of my own mother. Thanks for stopping by and linking up to Fluster Buster's Creative Muster Party! Looking forward to seeing what you're going to link up next week.

    Robin @ Fluster Buster

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  36. so tender and beautiful, laurie....thank you for this.
    erin
    xxoo

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  37. What a lovely tribute to your mom, Laurie.
    xo

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  38. Laurie, what a tender post! As I'm reading it sounds like a story my husband could have written. He spent many a night with his mother who suffered from Dementia before she passed. He has always had a soft and tender heart. It touched me so to see how he was with her. Your mother has been such a blessing in your life and you in hers! I pray that the good Lord will continue to bless you, your mom, and your dad! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  39. Laurie,
    What a special post. We just recently spent time like this with my Grandfather. I know exactly what you mean. Every moment with those we love is precious. So beautifully put! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!
    Sherry

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  40. I will feature this on HSH tomorrow Laurie. You put into words so beautifully things I can only capture with my camera.
    Sherry

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  41. Your beautiful words took me back to when I cared for my grandmother Laurie. She was so appreciate of even the smallest task performed for her. Thank you for writing and sharing this beautiful tribute for your mother. It will be a pleasure to feature this at Shabbilicious Friday tomorrow.
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

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  42. What a beautiful tribute to your mom Laurie. It brought tears to my eyes. You are such a wonderful daughter to be there for her now. Bless you!

    Hugs,
    Deborah

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  43. Hi Laurie

    I just found your blog, and have to say I simply LOVE your style. I started perusing back posts to find out more about you, and having read this piece find myself absolutely sobbing at the loss of my dear Mum, eleven years ago now. You brought back so clearly memories of my doing her hair for her, and seeing how fragile she had grown. I was SO lucky to have such a WONDERFUL Mum, and can truthfully say that I treasured every moment spent with her when she was with us. Over the years since we lost her, it has gradually become easier to cope with that awful emptiness, but your poignant words have brought that loss back to me with such strength, that I seriously think you should become an author, the ability to write like this shouldn't be wasted.

    Warmest wishes to you and your family. Make the most of them while you have them.

    Judi in the UK

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  44. This is so beautifully written...I really admire how you are able to express and convey such heartfelt and powerful emotions. xoxo

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  45. Oh, My goodness~ what an awesome picture you share with words...what a testament to love, devotion, loyalty and giving of self>

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Bless you and thank you for visiting! I read each of your comments and treasure them all. So, please make sure your settings will accept emails, or leave your email address so that I can reply! ♥ Laurie