My mom is adorable. There I said it. Most of the folks around her are adorable. Not cutesy bows and suspenders. Nope these people regularly shit their pants, get lost on a locked floor, and dribble food down themselves at an alarming frequency.
There's just something whole and innocent in a person who had lived a long life and come in the end to Alzheimers. They have lost everything and by every thought in my head are entitled to be belligerent and angry. They pass through that stage. It sucks. But then they hit the adorable stage
My mom has hit the adorable stage.
So last night I cut her hair which came to her waist. We sat outside in the warmth of an early fall evening. I helped her into her pj's and we curled up in her bed like we usually do.
I had been to the hospital to visit someone I love like crazy, and he was on my mind while we lay in her bed - practicing relaxing and letting our minds be quiet.
"Have you said your prayers?"
Blank look. She used to religiously (pun intended) do this every evening. Her rosary beads were required to go to sleep. But she hasn't done this for a long time. I think she has forgotten about god. She has definitely forgotten about religion - which is OK because religion has certainly forgotten about her.
She shakes her head. "Do I need to?"
"No. But I thought we could say a prayer for a friend of mine."
She is eager to help someone in any way she can. We lie face-to-face across the starched whiteness of her pillow that smells faintly of bleach.
"He is in the hospital. And we are going to pray that he gets well enough to go home."
I feel the tears puddle. Home is someplace she will never go again. We have sold her house. This place is her home now. The word home is sometimes enough to trigger the question for her about going home, but not tonight. I breathe again for having dodged that.
"What is his name?"
I tell her. A name is a thing of power after all. I imagine him lying there between us - a miniature version to be sure.
And she begins in a whisper:
Dear Mother Mary,
Please help my daughter's friend.
He wants to go home.
Help him feel better
so he can go home.
A short but more-perfect-than-she-knows prayer for my friend.
"Do you think god would mind if I prayed for something else?" she asks as if she is allotted only one prayer per day.
"I'm sure god would listen to anything you ask."
Her next prayer is between her and god. When I push she won't tell me what she prayed for.
Given the fact my friend is going home less than 24 hours after her prayer for him, I hope it was a good one.