by cheri block
One of the inherent problems with writing is that it [meaning all that has been written about] has all been said before.
Sure. What writers must remember is that each of us puts our own signature on our writing in the form of diction, story, tone, and irony. This individuality is what draws us to certain writers who express themselves in ways that we understand or need to understand.
This week, I visited my mother Joan, about whom I have written many posts. If you are a new reader, just search for Joan in the search bar or tag list and all of my expressions about this remarkable woman will be available.
My visit with Joan took a turn I was not expecting and I left her apartment feeling like I had been rolled out like malleable soft dough on a cookie sheet, sure to be punched and cut into sympathetic shapes–stars, moons, happy faces, and Christmas trees and Hannukah dreidels.
As a doughy happy-face cookie, I couldn’t cry even though she did. In fact, I encouraged her tears as her personal therapist, aching to relieve the tension she must feel, living alone with caregivers who often speak in their own language.
I told her I was going to New York and would be back on Tuesday to show her my photos.
Normally, she would express joy that I could still do this in my early 60’s. She would remember when she and Dad traveled and offer some short decoration for her own cookie.
This time, the tears ran down her face and she said, “Getting old is hell. I can’t do these things anymore; I am so sedentary!! With this genuine and cogent expression of angst, she reminded me of my old mother, the one I want to return, the one with a good memory, the one with whom I can have a lengthy conversation. I looked into her almond shaped eyes and deep there was my old mother.
I asked her why she was so sad. She cried some more. Then, as if the gloved mitt had pulled the 12 cookies out of the warm oven, ready for sampling, she returned to that inspirational woman, still grateful after an onslaught of maladies that began 20 years ago.
It could be worse, Cheri. Why, I could be disabled. [She is..] Why I could be in pain or without family or deaf [She is…] I am the luckiest woman in the whole world to have my family and my health, a nice apartment and caregivers who are my friends [even though she can’t hear them].
I tried to get off the drying rack and stood up, hoping not to crack one of my chips. I leaned over and gave her a big kiss. She told me I was beautiful and that my hair looked better short.
When I got into my car, I slumped over the wheel, breaking myself in half. But in her spirit, I popped part of me into my mouth and suddenly the world tasted delicious.