We walked the meadow behind the house. We walked it again and again, my mamala and I, this past week when I went to visit. The trees were barely turning and the assortment of wildflowers and weeds were thriving in the mild midwest autumn. Butterflies and moths darted flower to flower, a cow moo-ed just beyond the treeline.
“I think that cow is hungry,” my mom told me following each moo. She wants to feed all the hungry, like always.
Camera ever in hand, she took pictures of every possible thing out there, because, as she told me repeatedly, “Everything is just so beautiful! Do you see this? I’m telling you, it is just so beautiful!”
And I thought the neighbors might wonder why on earth she was snapping pictures of a weed gone to seed, or a whirligig on her back fence, or the clouds in the sky or a tree, then another and yet another, and sometimes a single leaf? A pretty rock? *snap* The neighbor’s barn? *snap* These purple flowers? *snap*snap* Oh, but wait…those purple flowers, too *snap!*
As if she heard my thought, she responded, “I know people might wonder why I am taking these pictures, but I just love life! I do! I love everything about it and God made everything beautiful! Everything is just so beautiful, I’m telling you!”
And in the time we’d walk and talk and sing and snap pictures, she’d tell me the same thing over and over. Everything is just so beautiful! Every-thing!
Because she really didn’t remember she had just told me…3 minutes before. And she wanted to make sure I would know.
My mom has dementia (most likely caused by Alzheimer’s Disease). I have wanted to write about it, but couldn’t because on occasion, though her computer skills were among the first of the losses, she might still have occasionally found her way to my blog. But no more. And each time I see her, I see less of her. So I am keen to hold on to what remains: her wisdom, her laughter, her zeal for nature and taking pictures. She still hugs me like there is no tomorrow (does she know?) and tells me I’m wonderful, my biggest cheerleader. She is losing dates and names and physical strength, but her creativity and love for beauty and her love for family remain intact. So far.
So each trip to see her, I look for the message she is still intent on writing on my heart (ever my mommy). This time it is this: No matter where you are and how unsatisfactory the circumstances might seem, look around, Jeanie. Open your eyes. See all God has done. Everything is just SO beautiful – you are surrounded by beauty.
I hope I get my mom’s loving, appreciative, grateful, beauty-seeing, clear-visioned eyes. I think she is trying to impart them to me.