She sits next to me at the table with a plate of food in front of her and an extra large clothing protector (too many words, let's call it what it really is-a bib) around her neck. I have situated myself so that I can easily feed her while attending to my other guests and while feeding myself too-though somehow I have managed to lose my appetite. She opens her mouth expectantly just like my children used to do when they were so young and in need of my help and I quickly put something in her mouth hoping that she will not choke. I look into her beautiful eyes and wonder how we came to this point in our lives where our roles have been reversed. I try not to get lost in my thoughts but I can't help myself. My mother; this beautiful women who now wears unmatched clothing with food stains on them, whose hair is slicked back and not even parted correctly (who did that to her anyway? Please part her hair correctly!), whose shoes are ones she never would have selected to put on her feet-I could go on but selfishly what I really want to do is remember her the way she was before all of this.
She truly could light up a room. She was a natural beauty with a big, beautiful smile, a quick and opinionated tongue and an amazing sense of humor. She just had a way about her and people were drawn to her. Actually, people adored her. She was down to earth yet worldly and she had an uncanny way of sizing up any situation in a moment and being completely accurate about her assumptions. She was always able to feel exactly what you were feeling and yet comfort and offer just the right amount of advice. Although she never really fussed with her looks, she was always well dressed and usually wore lipstick (the only make-up that she wore, in fact). The one thing she was terrible at doing was disguising her feelings about anything. You always knew exactly where you stood with her and she would never mince her words. People respected her for that even if it got her into trouble on occasion. As her namesake, I too hope I can be like this, although I fall short in so many ways. I adore my mother and I am proud to be her daughter.
I wipe the unending stream of mucous that seems to flow profusely from her nose the moment she starts to eat and continue helping her. Food on fork, open mouth, put food in, watch her chew, wipe her nose and mouth, give her a drink. She nods and thanks me and says she's glad she is here. I tell her that I am very glad she is here and then I turn and choke back my tears.