I looked across the table at my Mother stirring her coffee. Around and around, the spoon clinking against the sides of the mug. She had a dreamy look on her face as she was drifting into the past, telling me about her mother who was an astute investor. We were talking about things that are sad, yet inevitable. Probate, inheritance tax, estates, selling rare books on the Internet.
I squeeze the prospect that she is preparing to leave this earth and arrive in heaven (where God will meet her along with St. Peter at the pearly Gates) out of my mind, my thoughts, my reality.
I know she will live forever. I live in denial. I like it here.
In her hands I see my own. My own hands foreign, hers so familiar. Those hands that first held me, cleaned up the messes, chased me around with a paddle, soothed an illness with jello and chicken noodle soup, rags soaked in alcohol ice water and applied to a feverish forehead, grip the steering wheel at 10 and 2, hold a rosary, hand out the dollar bills to the grandchildren, moped up the blood from a head gash my brother so proudly presented to her, "LOOK MOM!! BLOOD!!!".
Those hands that were the center of attention right before her by-pass surgery of several years ago. My brother and I stood over her as she lay moments from the operating room, pleading with her to allow the orderly to cut off her rings, her wedding band and engagement ring, the irish claddagh ring. So long she had kept them on, they could not slide over her knuckles. She shed a tear as they took them off and handed them to us.
I held them though out that excruciating day. A day of 14 hours that seemed like 14 million hours.
Until the doctor came and escorted us into a room and told us she was okay.
I burst into tears of relief, so afraid that he was going to deliver bad news.
Those hands, laid out on the table on either side of the coffee mug, rings in their rightful place, are looking so much like mine anymore that it scares me and soothes me at the same time.
I reach out and squeeze them.