I go to see my mom on Christmas Day. I take her flowers. It is like many other visits with the Alzheimers, that thickening veil that separates her from all else.
She is anxious. Who was my dad? She says again that I’m her son – she says it in that way that leaves me wondering if this is a sudden realization or common thinking out loud. She says she doesn’t see any problem so should be able to leave this place. She might even go teach again.
I’ve brought with me Eugene Peterson’s lovely translation of the Bible with the thought that I might read it to her – read her the Christmas story. We walk down the hall – she leans part on me and part on the wall from her bad hip and knee – and find a quiet lounge. I open the blinds to reveal blue sky.
Reading light.
I turn to Luke chapters 1 and 2 and ask her if she wants to read. She nods. I hand her her reading glasses. And within moments there it is. In spite of the fog that has overtaken her, she bends forward, her finger under each word, and reads. The vocabulary is not always right, punctuation fails her at times, yet she is calm. She is focused.
And she reads of Christmas.
She reads and finds – if only briefly, fleetingly. She reads and finds those rare and precious elements.
Peace and hope.