I had planned to finish Sea of Poppies by Friday night. It was a long and difficult weekend, with not much time for reading, however. I spent most of Friday and Saturday at the hospital with my Mom. She slept most of the day on Friday. I tried to read, hoping to pass the time aboard the the Ibis and forget where I was and why I was there. I found myself reading the same page over and over again, not able to focus. Instead, I sat quietly next to her watching her sleep, trying to imagine her as a young woman pregnant with me. Or as a young girl racing her horse, Billy, bareback and barefooted across her father's fields. She would not approve of me telling her age - nevertheless - she is gliding serenely toward her 89th Spring. My mother is a small woman who looks much younger than she is. Most 12 year olds are taller and weigh more. Notwithstanding, she has always been a human dynamo - climbing trees to saw down limbs, digging up plants and moving them around in the garden, doing things she ought not do. She can coax life out of all species of flora and fauna. Abandoned and abused animals seem to instantly blossom under her gentle and loving care. My mother is a gifted artist and she has mastered several mediums; but, her real love is watercolor. That seems fitting. Watercolors are dreamy and soft, with a lightness of being. When her doctor spoke to us on Saturday, he said things in the blunt, matter of fact way that doctors must. Afterall, people's lives depend upon hearing the truth - or rather the facts. We will have to look to priests and poets for the niceties - the courageous words that help us sort things out. She sat on the edge of the bed as he spoke, her feet not touching the floor, her back toward me. He said some things she would not hear. Things that threatened her independence. True to her feisty nature, she mustered a defense. But I could see and hear the blows his words delivered. She was like a little sparrow you find on the ground with a broken wing. You want to bundle her up and make it all right. You want her to fly again - up to the top of the trees - farther even. To the sky, to the sun. I do not know what the outcome will be, but I do know my mother. She will take the advice of Dylan Thomas:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.