chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Monthly Archives: May 2014

This…

May 30: Dorothy’s birthday

DAK self portrait 1982By the time my mother turned 90, my dad was gone and Dorothy’s life had narrowed. Her vision and mobility were compromised and her thoughts didn’t always make it to the end of each sentence. But two things remained the same: her love of food and her love of attention.

There was surely no thing she needed as a birthday gift, so I did the obvious: I took her out to eat. Again and again.

Over the course of several weeks around her 90th birthday, we would make plans to go out to lunch or dinner — not unusual in itself as it was something we both enjoyed and could do together without too much conflict. But when we arrived at the restaurant, she would find, each time with renewed surprise, a small party awaiting her — special friends, close cousins, the women in her writing group. There were eight of these occasions, each at a different, favorite, restaurant, each with different, favorite, people.

Whether she retained any memory of these meals once we left the restaurants I don’t know. But for those sweet hours, her smile wide, she basked in generous affection and felt truly and joyfully celebrated.
. . . . .
Dorothy watercolor self-portrait, 1982

the mountain…

A FOUND…

to remember…

the edge…

Sunday…

from under…

The night…

take…

of parrots…

random gratitude…

Dorothy at 36
My mother made the Two Hardest Decisions entirely on her own, without discussion or persuasion.

One day, when she was in her 80s and my father was still alive, Dorothy announced that she was not going to drive any more. Another day, about three years after my father died and my mother was already on the slippery slope of dementia, she turned to me and, absolutely lucid, said, “I’m feeling too isolated in the house. I want to move to assisted living.”

In each of these choices, once she determined her path, she never looked back. That’s not to say there weren’t some terrible struggles getting her into and out of the car, when she would plant her feet and stiffen her frail 100-pound body, refusing to bend, responding to a Stop sign that only she could see. And that’s not to say that she didn’t sometimes complain about the food at the place she called “this hotel.”

But for all the difficulty we had being mother and daughter, these two decisions were immeasurable gifts and I continue, more than a decade after her passing, to be grateful.
. . . . .
photo: Dorothy at age 36

sharp…

LATE…

to make…

relentless…

sylvan…

watery…

I HEARD…

the leaves…

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