Going in for a cleaning
Monday June 03rd 2019, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

She’s my mom’s age but has had more health challenges; she gave up driving some time ago. She needed a ride to the dentist. Yay for chat lists, which let you ask everybody so nobody gets put on the spot.

I sat on the Scandinavian-style couch in the waiting room with my small, portable Rios cowl project, listening fondly to the happy chatter, then the quiet, then the familiar sound of the drill.

The receptionist coming off her lunch break saw me, exclaimed over my work, and came over and asked if it were Malabrigo?

Yes! I asked if she was a knitter.

Oh, I’m a BIG knitter!

Instant kinship. We had a great time. (I tried not to take too much of hers.)

When Gail got done I got her and her walker in the car and then asked her, Anywhere else you’d like to go?

She looked like she was holding her breath, hardly daring to hope. She was trying to say it without giving away the intensity of emotion I saw in her face: Why, yes!

Trader Joe’s?

Her nose wrinkled a little. She really could use a trip to Safeway.

The little one one at midtown, where you don’t have to walk a mile to find everything, or the giant one on El Camino?

She grinned. The giant one. She hoped that one of their scooter-carts would be available.

Alright then!

They had two just inside the door to choose from, one in good condition and one with the seat torn. She chose the torn, and I silently wondered if her experiences with her weight influenced that choice and I hurt a little for her for it. I remembered the days when I would be driving my kids to school and she, her kids long grown, would be out there race walking for miles every day. And yet fate refused to let her be thin.

But never mind, we had a grand time, me with a cane and a cart following her around, her, electric-wheelchairing it. It’s a huge store, trying to compete with Costco. We walked it side to side and end to end. I reached things for her so she didn’t have to get up. I put a few things in my own cart as long as I was there. She wanted the Irish butter. I helpfully found Danish, and some other European country-style made in America, but nothing that said…

She spotted it and reached that Irish Gold before I could. It was at sitting-person height.

I was happy that among all the staples and common-sense items, she chose some stuff that was simply fun food. Every pantry should have something that’s a just because you feel like it.

Back at her house, I got her walker set up, put three of her bags on it at her request and carried the fourth and she let me in to put it up on the counter.

She explained about her table. And over there, that empty box.

A friend of hers had had many many pictures from years when their kids were little together, and there were faces there whom she no longer knew or knew how to get in touch with, if they were still with us. She had gone through them all, and these were the ones with Gail’s family and the rest were a chance for Gail to identify any of those others.

The Simon and Garfunkel Bookends song…

There had been so many. Gail was almost done going through them. She showed me a single stack, about six inches high: those were hers.

All the rest–and she said it with a quiet laugh, and in that moment I felt her appreciation for a good and long life and all that had blessed her and hers along the way.

All those other pictures. There really was nothing to do but put them in the trash.

She understood my oh goodness, she felt it, too, but sometimes you do what you can. And then you move on.

And as I write this I suddenly wonder if I’ve ever taken a picture of her myself. I want to. I need to. And soon.

3 Comments so far
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I always forget about documenting the moments with pictures, because I’m enjoying being IN the moment, then later I could kick myself. Sigh. My picture life has huge gaps.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 06.04.19 @ 6:41 am

and you do it with your phone to add her picture to the contact. Few people object or worry about…. and you then have the photo without making it a bit production

Comment by Holly 06.04.19 @ 12:22 pm

We just went through a couple of decades of photos, and while it was a chore that resulted in a pairing down of the collection to about 20% of what it had been, it was such a joy. We kept looking at each other and saying, what a great life we’ve lived. I’m glad your friend had that pile of photos to sort, too.

Comment by twinsetellen 06.06.19 @ 1:22 pm

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