I had attended to her needs for years before she passed. As she got weaker and more childlike, I found myself oddly delighting in the fact that I finally could sit with her for hours. You see, as long as I can remember, she was always in perpetual motion...a blur of movement that danced and flitted from sculptures to the microphone, to the kitchen, to tending the plants outdoors. With dough in her hands, she would suddenly dash outside having spotted the bluejay that she called "Peanuts."
"Peanuts! Peanuts!" she cried to the heavens in her sing-songy voice. "Peanuts!" The bluejay would begin circling overhead, flying lower and lower with each mention of its name. (Good God, no one could resist my mother!) With one hand she would dig into a bin of peanuts with shells and begin setting them on the patio wall. Peanuts, unafraid, would fly down to the wall and begin his daily indulgence in the peanuts from heaven brought to him by the angel Lisa. Satisfied with their meeting, dough in hand Lisa returned to the kitchen, deftly turning on the faucet and washing her one hand before resuming with the kneading of the dough.
Having to answer the telephone was like putting her in handcuffs. Hands were for creating, not holding phones! She would answer the phone cheerfully, but you could feel the buzz of energy through the phone line that said, "I love you, but do we really have to chat now?" Oh, she could talk, and she loved to delve into all topics, especially the wonders of the universe. "I wonder if there is healing energy in the stars," she said one day. But, she just really didn't like the phone.
She was funny, philosophical, and contagiously joyful.
As I was tirelessly cleaning the house for her on the day before hospice was to pay its first visit, our eyes met in the full length mirror in her bedroom. At that moment I knew she would not be with us for long (she passed seven days later). She smiled her beautiful full-lipped lipstick smile. (She still sought the perfect lipstick color just weeks before she passed.)
"You have a new name," she said gently.
"What? A new name? What do you mean, Mommy?" I asked, still holding her gaze in the mirror.
"Your new name is G.G.," she said, smiling with so much love it almost hurt.
"G.G.?" I questioned, now wondering about my mother's sanity. Was this dementia speaking, perchance? "What do you mean, G.G.?"
"G.G.," she said softly, knowingly, "G.G. God's Gift."
The love that flowed over me and cleansed my soul in that moment is not easy to put into words. Any issues or karma between us over the years was suddenly dissolved. My Mommy loved me more than I had ever known (and, I always knew she loved me, always).
If I am her God's Gift, so she is my Gift from God forever.
I love you, Mommy.