I experienced true human majesty today. Mom completed her month-long rehab and was discharged this morning. In the past four weeks, she's lived in a quad set-up with four older women, each with differing ailments that require them to have full-time care. During the day, she went to the dayroom to paint or listen to music with other residents with whom she chatted and spent time.
She doesn't remember their names from day-to-day, or even hour-to-hour, but she responds to everyone with a smile and a kind word, and they became friends.
Today, as I walked down the hall to pack her things, one of her ailing friends asked me to give her their milk carton because they know she loves milk. Another grabbed her walker and shuffled to Mom's room, offering her a tearful hug goodbye. Her roommate was so upset about the impending loss of her friend that she wanted to leave with her.
Whether once women of means or paupers, life has equalized their stations. Each is now reduced to what can be stored in a few drawers, and a cupboard for clothes. Their wants are few, and what they treasure is love, given freely and soaked up like rain on dry ground, through heavy-armed hugs, a trembling smile, a carton of milk, or an offered cookie from a plate sent by a loved one.
I wiped my eyes more than once at the grandeur of spirits that could not be contained by frail bodies, but which reached across rooms and halls in cheery laughter and illuminated eyes. If time spent at a task makes one a professional, then these are professionals at loving, who stripped of the trappings of things, love soul to soul and heart to heart.
Perhaps we become more spirit than body, a thought that makes growing older seem glorious. At least I think so, because today I saw majesty, and nobility, and grace, and I remain awed.