Life is like a long bath. The longer you’re in it, the more wrinkles you get.

I am grateful for wrinkles. Wrinkles in my skin, that is. I am learning that each one has meaning and shows experience. Either experience in laughter, or worry, or stress, or life. Experience is a good thing. As are wrinkles in skin. At least the wrinkles that come from laughter, or worry, or stress, or life. Wrinkles just mean that life is happening, has happened.

Wrinkles from sunbathing, not so much a good thing.

Wrinkle. What a funny word. Who decided on the silent w? Wuh-rinkle. Wuh-hoo. Wuh-rist. Wuh-rap.

Okay, a silent w is better, I guess. I’d rather be full of rinkles than wuh-rinkles.

I am grateful for red velvet cake. Mom used to make me a red velvet cake for my birthday every year. Hers were the best. Always from scratch. In honor of Mom and in celebration of my birthday, this week, I took red velvet cupcakes to Bingo. Not homemade. Costco made. But still… I am grateful for the sweet memories a cupcake brought to mind.

And I am grateful for my Bingo friend, Katherine. She is in her 90’s and is sharp as a tack. Katherine plays four cards at a time at Bingo and I do not call the numbers fast enough. At least it’s the way it was…and then, Katherine’s COPD took over, and her legs began retaining fluid and she was hospitalized just after Thanksgiving. And then went to a rehab facility. She has been gone for about two months, until this week. Katherine was back home on Tuesday evening, but she looks gray. She needed me to slow down when calling I-16, N-43, O-67… Several times, she had to ask which Bingo game we were playing, confusion hovering over her. I had not seen Katherine attached to a clear tube under her nose until this week. And after the fun and games were over, my friend Grace and I wheeled her back to her room and helped her get situated. Katherine is not used to feeling helpless. She shared with me, head drooping, as we waited for the nurse’s assistance, that she was humiliated needing the help. The oxygen concentrator hummed in the next room, and Katherine’s world brought me back to a 9th floor apartment, two years ago, as my Mom lived her final week:

Observations from the 9th Floor – January 22, 2103

Yesterday was a banner day. Mom was more alert than we have seen her in days. Her eyes were clearer, her mind was focused, and she was able to communicate better than she had in days.

After telling Mom that she would be proud of Dad, that he got up and made his own toast and coffee and we were now sitting down for more leftovers for lunch, she responded, “Poor guy.”

The nurse checked on Mom and said she was looking good – we already knew that. Even in her weakened state, she is beautiful.

In the quietness of the day, Pandora played some of Mom’s favorite music from the Gaithers – “Something Beautiful,” “He Touched Me,” “There’s Just Something About That Name.”  She was listening and enjoying.

Mom is still Mom. She was insistent on telling us that the pancakes weren’t on the right shelf. And she wanted to make sure we corrected our mistake.

I’ve been reading emails and responses regarding my updates to Mom and her face lights up when I say the names of people who have written to us. She either smiles, shakes her head in amazement, or verbally makes an astonished, “Oh?!” I love that people are sending these encouragements to her and to our family and especially love that she knows every person and is so touched by their words.

This morning, I am reminded of the way I grew up with music – particularly Mom’s little songs she sang to us in the car. As I sit here soaking in the sun/Son, this one comes to mind:

“My mommy told me something, a little girl should know,
It is all about the devil, and I’ve learned to hate him so.;
She said he causes trouble when you let him in the room,
He will never ever leave you if your heart is filled with gloom,

So let the sunshine in, face it with a grin,
Smilers never lose, and frowners never win,
So let the sunshine in, face it with a grin,
Open up your heart and let the sunshine in!

She used to sing, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days, all the days of my life…” Wow. I can hear her voice. She’ll be singing again soon. The choir is getting ready for another seat in the alto section.

Psalm 23 (The Message, with bold added by me)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. 
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.


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