Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Love of God

In Chicago taking care of The Great Aunt this week. She's in a mood today. She’s annoyed because I’d like to shower and take a walk. When I tell her after two hours of coffee, looking at pics and chatting up the charm of grandkids that I need to do some work, I read her disbelief. I tell her I’ve got a writing deadline and some mail to answer. She rolls her eyes. She says severely: I can SEE things are AS USUAL.

I know I shouldn’t respond. Soon she reappears in her turquoise teddy bear sweatshirt to glare at me from the lazyboy, waiting for lunch. I fix her a chicken sandwich and she declares it the best she’s ever had. We watch a Law and Order rerun because she’s in love with the detective, Brisco. I mix up some ginger molasses cookies. When the dough is made into little round balls dipped in sugar, she helps by flattening them with a glass bottom. Then she tells me she’s never liked ginger cookies. She might, she says, if they had chocolate chips in them. When the first batch is cooled she eats four with a cup of tea.

Last night I read to her from her “Choice Gleanings” calendar. The scripture verse was Who can separate us from the love of God? Nothing. She got misty eyed. It was her husband’s favorite verse. “Gleanings” always ends with a poem that gags me, but she finds them familiar and lovely. I asked if she ever painted or wrote when she was younger.

“No. None of us five girls ever did anything. We weren’t encouraged!” She remembers liking hymns from a book used at her New Bedford church in the 1920s. One day she wrote her own verses to a tune and showed them to her mother who was petite, prim, and permanently pissed off -- though the Great Aunt would never say so -- who said, OH, RUTH! The tone must have been derisive because she said, I never (ne-vah) wrote again.

Wasn’t your father artistic? “Oh, yes. He took painting lessons when we were little. But he quit.” She pointed to a painting of her father’s boyhood home in Scotland. No droopy vines and dripping purple sunsets with little windows aglow. Just a worn path leading to a thatched cottage, and a few golden flowers. Sort of impressionistic. Nicely done.

Who wants to be eighty-eight with Alzheimer’s? The Great Aunt has not asked for this.


Travels said...

Yes. This is all familiar now that we have dealt with 4 aging parents and two elderly aunts... I especially needed a LARGE measure of grace and patience last Summer when I found myself having to BELLOW painful and sensitive things to my Father who can no longer hear or read. Lord have mercy! on my impatient cranky self. But we were often revived with bouts of laughter. Laughter helps quite a bit.

Marcie said...

Margie, thanks so much for writing about time with your aunt. Your honesty teaches about loving those who can be difficult.

gracefor7 said...

Thank you for the example in caring for an elderly family member. I need examples like this to remind me that there can be beauty and satisfaction in doing a hard thing like this. I am not yet at this stage of life, having to care for an elderly parent, but probably will be in the next 5 years or thanks.