I'm sitting in bed, drinking black coffee, nibbling pumpkin seeds and popping fresh blueberries in my mouth.
I'm alone, enjoying my own inner silence and the raucous scold of an agitated crow in the woods beyond my window when my zoned out morning reverie is broken by the sensation of something wet and cold on my belly.
Pulling my flimsy night gown aside, I retrieve the fat, just rinsed blueberry poised on my ample hip. I hold it in the palm of my hand and study it for a moment. It's still intact, not leaking juice, no purple stains on night gown or sheets.
I go to pop it in my mouth again and surprise! I miss my mouth for the second time. Geez Louise! What's going on here?
I don't move, but sit bemused. Retrieving the blueberry a second time, I look at it and begin to consider a few scenes likely looming in my future: how many more blueberries, I wonder, will escape the maw of my mouth and roll down the hills of my wrinkled belly before I meet my Maker? How many dribs and drabs of this and that will I drop all over my food stained clothes as I attempt to find my own toothless mouth before I finally quit this all too brief mortal life? I sigh and think:
I'm getting old.
I remember my grandmother's palsy, the way her fork shook uncontrollably as it laboriously inched between her plate and mouth. On her worst days, more peas fell on the table, in her lap and on the floor than ever made it past her lips. I think about her unspoken embarrassment and rigid pride. I recall my Mother's wordless pity for her own mother, whom she loved and always called 'Mama.' Silence hung over our round maple kitchen table like a curtain while we all pretended not to notice Mama Walker's tremor.
And now, this morning, here I sit, some fifty odd years later, an old woman myself, wondering why neither we nor Mama Walker could ever acknowledge her illness. I don't know why, but in retrospect, our pretense seems ever so sad. Surely it had the unintended consequence of making Mama Walker's suffering, both physical and emotional, worse because she had to carry the burden of her infirmity alone.
As an aside, Mama Walker's tremor was not Parkinson's or any other nameable disease. Her doctor at Vanderbilt Hospital simply called it a 'familial tremor.'
As always, I ask you to share Dogwood Daughter and Lily Cat Music for Kids with someone else today. I'm an indie artist with no advertising other than word of mouth from kind folks like you. Thank you.
Be Well and Good Luck.