Flashback August 20, 2015: “I love my Patti,” Gaby told me just about every day for a year and a half.
There’s nothing particularly remarkable about that. People say “I love you” at the drop of a hat these days. But Gaby didn’t just say it. She radiated unconditional love like the sun’s warmth on a summer day; showered Mom with it like a gentle spring rain; enveloped her in it as one might cocoon a chilled soul with a thick, soft blanket on a cold winter night. I was privileged to witness this profound connection, and I’ve been challenged to capture it in words and images. But I’ve tried.
In March 2013, a few months after they first met I wrote (in a longish post about being lost and found):
The way Gaby looks at my mother cleaves my heart in two. It’s full of sheer joy, acceptance and love; it’s amazing to behold. Gaby’s and Mom’s friendship has deepened in tandem with my mother’s declining capacity over the past five months. That Mom is becoming more and more lost in an Alzheimer’s haze doesn’t faze Gaby in the least. She just looks at Mom and smiles, nods, and agrees with whatever gobbledygook finds its way from my mother’s mind to her mouth.
In loving words at sunset (which was featured on FreshlyPressed and has been viewed thousands of times) I eavesdropped while the sat watching the sunset:
“I’m glad I’m here with my friend Patti, enjoying the sunset,” Gaby says.
“Is it time to go home yet?” Mom replies.
“Almost.” Gaby slides her hand down Patti’s purple-splotched forearm. She gathers Patti’s hand in her own. “We’ll go together,” she says.
I blogged about the time Mom serenaded us with Zippity Do Dah. I captured on video what it looks like when an angel loves you. I videoed as they sang O Canada together on July 1, 2014. Five days later, I took the touching one-minute clip below of Mom and Gaby parting company before dinner – Gaby still ate in the main dining room; Mom had to go to the second floor. They planned to meet afterward and cause a ruckus.
Not long after, I discovered some promises, like some rules, are meant to be broken. I snapped dozens of pictures of the two of them and a few of the three of us as we shared this earthly space. I felt deeply grateful every minute we were together . The last time the three of us had dinner, Gaby and Mom watched a flock of seagulls on the lawn while I cleaned up afterward. Just before it was time to go, Gaby said to Mom:
“That’s nice of those birds to come here. And walk around for us to watch them.”
I felt the tender center of my heart cave in on itself. A second or two later as if on cue, the seagulls took wing leaving Mom, Gaby and I to do the same. I will be devastated when Mom goes home. But our angel Gabrielle will be there to welcome her and raise Cain. That’s one more thing to be thankful for.