It was such a big room for a little old lady. She had her glasses off and oxygen on. Her eye color was hardly distinguishable from her pupils. They were two special dark chocolates, with little distinction between the pupils and brown rings. She almost smiled at me. I asked her if she was feeling better today. She said she wasn’t, but had no reference point to how she might have felt. She rolled her eyes at her wayward memory.
Breathing therapy wasn’t something my mom liked to do, so I brought bubbles. Maybe recreational therapy would appeal to her childlike heart. It was as if she was already blowing every time she exhaled. Her lips would slightly part and purse as air gushed out like she was hanging with Virginia Slim. It was the opposite of coming up for air, and instead of gathering square feet of oxygen, she dispersed it. Maybe she was pushing the bad air out. I thought of Lamaze training and how important breathing was in the natural birth process. Maybe it was the same in the natural death process. It had become a cadence, a conscious rhythm which supplanted her innate flow of air. At any rate, her breathing was labor and delivery. I opened the bubbles and started dipping and blowing. My lack of skill brought cat calls from my geriatric audience of one, and after a minute or two I put a lid on it.
Our seven year old Zoe came with me the next day. She gave my mother her happy-meal pink polka-dot bear. A question followed a thank you. “Zoe, what should I name her, Hmmm? Pinky? Polka Dot?” Zoe smiled and shrugged. Zoe was offered the bubbles, the only seven-year-old activity in the room. Her skill was steady and true. Her small mouth was a perfect circle which would focus air through the plastic ring. The film of soap would stretch again and again and break free. Little spheres would hit the warm air current from the register and rise to adolescent orbits over my mom’s bed. Moments were strung together like bubble constellations and suspended above her discomfort. And small round words would escape my mother’s mouth…”Oh!…Wow!…Pop!…Look!”
One settled on her bed and reminded me of how Glinda, the good witch of the north, landed in Munchkinland. I asked my mom if she remembered that scene and she could not. If only she had. Maybe Glinda could have taught her how to close her eyes and click her heels together. In the quiet I almost heard my mom whisper to herself,”There’s no place like home.”
I pursed my lips and began whistling “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
“For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14,15 King James Version
The name Zoe means “life”. Life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it.
Oh how much has been contained in the soap bubble that is her life!
© Gerald Allen Barrett and parentheticallyspeakingin3d, 2012.