March 2, 2020
MOMMA IS DANCING
My mother once told me as we stood on a bridge overlooking a creek, “After I die and you see the sunlight dancing on the water, think of me. I will be in those sparkles. I will be part of the Light.”
My mother always loved to dance. I wish my father had taken her more often. When she lived alone she would put on a rousing piece of music and dance around her house. It was her exercise. Now, whenever I drive her somewhere I have classical music on. If it is upbeat and cheery she will wave her arms as though she is dancing or maybe conducting the orchestra. A big smile on her face, she will exclaim with childlike wonder about everything she sees.
In November I noticed an advertisement at the library for a dance class for folks with Parkinson’s or other disorders affecting mobility. I took her to one. She was in a terrible mood when I picked her up. But a few minutes into class she was smiling and doing her best to follow along with a dozen other people sitting in a Circle doing an odd mixture of ballet and movements to support brain pathways. Dancing in chairs!
Momma needs all the brain support she can get. She suffers from vascular dementia. She was only able to attend the class twice as she began to rapidly decline from Stage 5 into Stage 6 of her illness making it much more difficult for her to process information and also for her brain to direct her body what to do. Only six weeks later she is stumbling now and then into Stage 7, the final stage of this disease that devours a brain.
Occasionally she will cling to me… “I’m going to lose you!” she says.
“No, Momma. You won’t lose me. I’m here. I’ll always be here.”
Her eyes pleading, she shakes her head. “You will lose me. I’m, I’m, I think I’m slipping away.”
She’s right. We are losing Momma a brain cell at a time.
The other day I sat on her bed holding her hand after a severe episode had left her exhausted and sleeping. Whatever bitterness and disappointment still lingered in the holes and scars in my heart because of who my mother was not, because of what she was unable to do or give, because of what she didn’t know…quietly dissipated like shreds of fog succumbing to the Sun.
She was Enough. She is Enough. I gaze at her withered and ruined body in which she holds Divine and Sacred Light. Her body is a vessel meant to be filled up with Love. Mine too. All of us. Our bodies are vessels meant to hold Love and Light. She did her best to do so in the ways that she understood.
She did her best.
And soon, Momma, you will be that Light I see waltzing with the water in the bay.