Several years ago, my mother had sudden and violent vertigo. In just two cruel days, she was unable to write her name or speak without slurring. Doctors tossed around bits of terror...Multiple Sclerosis. Lesion. Giloma.
I was on the East Coast, hearing this all from the phone. Wondering when I needed to get on a plane, mourning the grandchildren I feared she would never meet.
Meanwhile, Mom's best friend, Maril, walked into that hospital room. She rested herself on the foot of my mother's bed. She opened her purse, then removed a tube of creamy lilac lotion.
And as my mother drifted in and out of sleep, she massaged my mother's feet. Simple touch. Freely given.
Mom got better. Simple words, but perhaps the greatest miracle of my life.
And now, my husband's mother is ill. My other mom.
On Sunday, she rested on the couch, floating in and out of sensation. My oldest son massaged her legs.
He's five. He touched with small fingers, used to climb trees and make fortresses of sand. For twenty minutes, his energy ebbed and receded, his little waves of devotion.
"She needs to sleep," he said, "And so I helped her."
Simple touch. Freely given.
This is what we are called to do. This is what matters.
We take care of each other. We give freely.
And we are humbled.