Some would say she is fading, the light from her star about spent. Her carefully repeated lines, from long ago memories, a thing to be ashamed of.
I do not see her that way. To me she is long hot summers spent splashing in homemade ponds. Made from the gushing snake of the hose pulled far behind the house. A towel waiting to be used on the screen door when we were through. And in the back of my mind she is still yelling, “You kids don’t get mud on my clean floors!”
She is the pillar that stood tall when my world continuously fell apart. And as she aged, she is the person who told me stories of the past. Though she may be forgetful, she remembers important things. Clark Gable, where she stood when Kennedy was shot, what the Great Depression was like. She may forget I just told her I’m leaving, but she remembers Egypt, and Darfur, and the war in Iraq.
To me she has always been a lady . High morales are still held with her. In a society where is is supposedly easier to cart the elderly off to a nursing home, I took the time to listen to stories about being hungry, and losing a parent in a time where an entire country didn’t know where their next meal might come from. In our struggling economy she taught me things have truly been worse.
She will be ninety-three this May, and I can’t see a world without her. There are so many other valuable things she has taught me. To hold my head high, don’t sell yourself short, and the value of an education. She wanted to become a nurse. Instead, she got a job at an insurance company, and gave her wages to her mom. Then got married, and had six children. She made suer her children went to college. And now is making sure I succeed.
Even when we disagree she has something to give, or maybe it is really just me seeing how I ought not to be. In her pessimism, I became hopelessly optimistic.
I can still remember, as a child, the taste of still warm homemade strawberry jam, blueberries, and canned fruits of every kind. The smell of a homemade meal after school. And the sound of her voice scolding, “Don’t track mud!” On summer days.
No, I don’t think the light in her is fading. I think much like the celestials stars in the sky, years from now, after she is gone, her light will still be burning. Because I stopped for a time to listen and learn.
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