A Eulogy for Mom
By: Brad Cole

A mild morning breeze blew through the open window pushing the silk curtain playfully. It brought into the darkened bedroom the sound of summer birds and the smell of fresh flowers. I leaned over the sleeping form of my mother and squeezed her shoulder. When she awoke her eyes still blazed with the same pretty blue color of her youth. She was 87 years old and in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, living in my home where my wife and I were caring for her. When she turned her head on the pillow to look at me I doubted she saw her son. Just to see a smile I tweaked the tip of her nose playfully with my fingertip. She smirked, opened her eyes widely and gave me a look of bewilderment.

"Time to get up and have some breakfast," I said. But there still was little response from her, she had not spoken for nearly a year.

Straining both arms and back I pulled her gently up and out of the bed. I made sure her feet were firmly planted on the floor before walking arm in arm to the bathroom.

I remembered one special moment the week before when she gave me a strangely intense look, staring straight at me, her eyes very bright. I could of sworn she had momentarily recognized me and suddenly felt a motherly bond. That somehow she wanted me to know that she still knew me but could not express it. But this feeling of connection quickly disappeared, leaving my mother once again to become strangely lost inside the lifeboat of her body.

After getting her cleaned up in the bathroom I sat her down at the kitchen table. My wife had prepared breakfast and started spoon feeding Mom. With the progressing Alzheimer's it had become increasing difficult for her to swallow and she developed an instinctive fear of choking. This combined with a weak heart lead to the heart attack that the paramedics said ended her life on that morning.

A couple of days later I began to think of how she gave me life, loved and guided and supported me through so much of my uneasy existence. Perhaps now, I thought, in her death she is waiting to give me something equally, if not more precious: her spirit. A spirit that will continue to love and guide me through the darkness of life and, hopefully, grant me wisdom.

So now when I feel the warm breeze of summer and hear the sharp chirp of small birds, I pause to admire the endless sky above me and think of the wide awake blue eyes of my mother.