Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spring Snapshot


Esme is resting on the bed when I arrive, the sun just brushing her toes.

The room is filled with flowers, many of them spring flowers; colourful tokens of sent love.

It is nice to have her to myself for a while. Because I am chief Visit Monitor, I know how many visitors are coming and plan to come. Only my brother is due later on this afternoon, but that will be a welcome doubling.

She suggests we take a stroll round the grounds before the sun goes down. We move in half-time, in tandem, her arm in mine. I fret about helping too much, then fret about helping too little. Then I throw her a glance and realise I should stop worrying. She is fine. She is enjoying the rare, clear Spring air.

It is exceptionally clear. It is as though the air were our thoughts, and we the air. Behind the Hall there is a field, bordered by trees, and through these trees a low, sharp March sun catches us as we walk the boundary path. We think we spot the Dementia Care wing through some bamboo fencing. Ah, said my father when he heard about it, that must be the saddest place in the world. But any wing of any Home is sad, in part. Even a Home full of retired thespians is a place where people have begun a process of exile from life. Esme's exile is self-chosen, and temporary, in order to return to life's fray.

We pause to sit on a bench before the round, sculpted head of a man with a fish on his head. Esme, who has studied art for years, says I like it. I, who love art but need to glean meaning in it, see only a man with a fish on his head, and say Mmmm. I make a mental note to ask someone about its meaning.

I hold one of my mother's hands. The skin is soft and translucent. Her hands seem slighter than they once did.

It's a strange time, you know, Liv, she says.

On the path back, she spots a pine cone and asks me to pick it up for her. I know that she will take it back to her room and put it in a special place, to look at, as she has done all her life with natural things - sea shells, pebbles, particularly beautiful leaves. I cast around looking for another.

What are you doing? she asks. I tell her.

No, just one, she says firmly. One is enough.

4 comments:

Cathy said...

I live just a few miles from Denville Hall. It is another crisp spring morning here today so I hope Esme is enjoying it too.

Your descriptions of her remind me a of another 'older' semi-retired actress I met in yoga classes. She was such a lovely, cultured and interesting lady that I always used to enjoy having a coffee afterwards with her. I imagine Esme to be the same.

Beautiful writing, Livvy.

Cx

Anonymous said...

I have just sat reading this beautiful site, having just completed a rather hard week's work, and am loving that reading such a life affirming story has refreshed and inspired me for the weekend. Dear darling Livvy, you are a wonder! So much love to you and E. and all your family, especially Esme, Bim and Anna-Mouse. xd

Sue said...

I can't say any more than what a lovely blog entry you've written here.

It brought a tear to my eye.

Glad to hear that your mom appears to be relaxed in her new surroundings, sounds a great place to make you feel better. Hope you are okay too.

Sue xx

twobuyfour said...

You paint such beautiful pictures with your words. Thank you. I hope your mother continues to improve.