Wednesday, August 25, 2010

on being mary & forgotten

cresting the small rise, i can already see her, sitting on the porch, blue mountains rising to either side as stoic companions, waiting for me to arrive. it is tuesday, our day, and her name is mary.

gravel crunches as my tires drag to stop and i unfold my body from the car with a great stretch, the air seems cleaner, more refreshing here. a gifted painter's hand is evident as each of nature's colors adds more to the next.

she is attentive to something and missed my approach, so i watch her from a distance, seeing small joys light her face; a butterfly dancing on a wildflower, a lady bug slowly crawling across the toe of her shoe. her fingers rub at the arms of her chair, the only sign of her impatience.

clearing my throat, she lifts her head, overly red lips smiling. she says nothing, she does not need to, i can see she is happy i have finally arrived once more. she takes my hand in hers, her skin like milk, soft, yet firm as if i might flit away like the butterfly. she wore a dress today, just for me.

we stroll down the hall, her showing me off in her silent way, all the way to her room, where she lays down inviting me to sit. her eyes say all she has and she listens as i spill out my life before her, telling stories she has heard before. no words part her lips, but i understand her and after a while we just sit, until her hand, on mine, gently loosens, her breathing becoming a whisper.

slipping out of the room, i smile at the others. few remember my name week to week, but they know i am mary's. some visitors may wonder why a young man would spend time with an elderly lady, that he is not even related to, but i would say we both have much to give and took away our equal portions.

nestled tight between the mountains, there is a home, many have forgotten, whose ground now holds a lady, i once knew, whose name was mary.

103 comments:

Susan Deborah said...

Another treasure from your life's chest, I bet. The wear and tear of life can be seen and felt in our elders. Their life stands testament to an assortment of achievements and failures but still we relegate them to places called "homes." How ironic!!!

Joy always,
Susan

Daniel said...

Nice Brian. This is so typically you. The patience, the time, the devotion. Finding importance in beauty in the discarded and forgotten. Thanks for continually inspiring me and silently rebuking me. Blessings.

Ed Pilolla said...

i can hear the gravel crunching and feel her hand gently loosening. and those mountains are majestic. you're like a magician, and this is what you pulled out of your pocket for today. thanks!:)

Cheryl said...

Much to give and much taken away in equal proportions. Relativity doesn't matter much when it comes to sharing part of each other's stories.

signed...bkm said...

wonderful write on this subject Brian...there are so many forgotten.. and their lives just fade into a distance until gone... a cycle that few of us escape ...but that always keeps us asking...why, and hopefully always keeps us answering Yes...to living each day to its fullest ...blessings...bkm

Steven Anthony said...

such wonderful words....reminds me of my time at woodland terrace with a sweet lady named margie.....beautiful.

Steven Anthony
Man Dish~Metro Style
Life in the fish bowl

JStar said...

This is a beautiful story Brian...I am sure Mary enjoyed your stories...

The Bug said...

Lovely story. Dr. M's mother is in a nursing home. She usually knows who we are (although sometimes she gets him confused with her brother - & who can blame her since they look so much alike). It's hard to visit her in that place - & yet it's also a blessing.

Bonnie said...

If only we could all minister in such a dignified way to the Marys of this world.

In our culture it seems to be an almost shameful thing to wither and age. It is heart-warming to know there are many who will not just tolerate the aged but who will value them by giving of their time and attention. Thank you Brian.

Tina said...

Heartwarming. Heartfelt. Nice write, my friend. Mary was lucky to have you as hers.

Valerie said...

I know from your words that you bring peace to all those you touch during life's journey.

Monkey Man said...

Touching story.

Ziva said...

What a beautiful story, Brian. It reminds me of my late Grandfather and how I used to visit him and we'd enjoy the silence and the company.

Everyday Goddess said...

so beautiful, and uplifting. great theme thursday!

Goofball said...

you have such a big heart and send me some of your patience for people. I could have some more.


It does sound like the most splendid location for a home though. I can totally envision the mountains.

Tabor said...

Makes me wish my name was Mary.

Baino said...

Lovely I think you write bet when it draws from your own real experience Brian. Nice view of 'equal' too.

only a movie said...

I just visited my grandmother last week in a nursing home. I could picture this whole scene.

drybottomgirl said...

A good reminder just how important the "Mary's" are in this world of youth and beauty. We have much to learn from our elders, and we need to cherish them......

Julie said...

As I walk through the common rooms on visits to my father, I know the eyes of others follow me. I greet them all, some by name others just by a touch. I know them more than my father knows them, but he is infirm and not of sound mind. It is the eyes that does it. And the smiles and waves of the hands as I depart. The child becomes an adult, becomes a child.

A thought provoking story, Brian.

Claudia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claudia said...

she must have loved to know you're hers - just so devotional to spend time with the old lady - must have meant a lot to her - and to you as well to have had someone at this time to spill you life out to

Me said...

What a gorgeous story...both the way the words are arranged, and the meaning behind them. Gorgeous.

Okie said...

nice...very lovely.

rxBambi said...

mary had a very special friend... and so did you.

hugs

TALON said...

You write with a deft and beautiful touch, Brian. Mary is blessed to have your remembrance.

JeffScape said...

Or is Mary, yes?

This is one of those pieces you should see how long you can make while retaining the pace and charm.

lakeviewer said...

And you are not even related to her! This was a sweet moment in time we can all connect with. You inspire us, young man.

Nessa said...

You have me weeping again. So many are forgotten. Mary is lucky to have you.

Mighty M said...

Glad you two were there for each other. :)

william said...

awe brilliant mate, wish u all the best :)

Kulio said...

we both have much to give and took away our equal portions...mmmmm, well said.

The Retired One said...

You fooled me Brian..I thought it may have been the tale of a hot girlfriend you had at first...but then you explained...and it was that much more sweet!

Prayer Girl said...

This scene pulls at the deepest part of me. I spent many years working in nursing homes. God blesses those who share their vitality with the frail and sick.

PG

sage said...

Wow, this is nice. I love it and can see the home nestled in the mountains...

Vodka Logic said...

A lovely story.. and hopefully true.

Kris said...

And the wind cried "Mary"?

AmyLK said...

This is beautiful as usual!

King of New York Hacks said...

My mother worked in a Nursing Home most of her life...I spent many days there with her as she made me know the importance of our elders and how much they have to offer...brilliantly told Brian...as usual. Peace and happy honks from NYC to you brother.

Fireblossom said...

This puts me in mind of a very memorable novel i read not long ago...Lisa Genova's "Still Alice." I think you might enjoy it.

The Urban Cowboy said...

How touching, to give of yourself to someone else the one thing that truly matters...your attention.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

So well done, so very very well done. Thanks, Brian. -J

Slamdunk said...

Fantastic Brian--thanks for sharing this wonderful image.

As an undergrad, I was a regular at a "home" where I just sat and talked and played games. I had three folks that I talked to regularly and others from time to time. They gave me much more than I did them.

Beachanny said...

This is a lovely piece. You have such a subtle ability at nudging emotions without being obvious. Very adroit in your approach here, Willa Cather like--painting the picture and then filling in the characters. So charming. I am completely disarmed. Thank you. Gay

Alexandra Macias said...

that was amazing ive never read anything like that before.
):)(:(

TechnoBabe said...

I would hope each of us will one day have a Brian come to visit us and hold our hand and talk with us and share real life.

Tracy said...

As I read this I kept wondering where you were going to take us with this story. Nice, Brian. I always expect something spectacular and you keep finding ways to surprise me still.

Maha said...

you just keep me wanting more of your dazzling and warm stories. Just tell me, was it fact or fiction?

Heartspell said...

How blessed you and Mary were/are to have touched each others lives.... this one brought me to tears in memory of my great aunt who raised me.....beautiful story. :) Heartspell

adeeyoyo said...

You made me cry. And inspired me for another poem. God bless you, Brian.

Pat said...

What a moving story - so heartfelt.

gospelwriter said...

What a beautiful and heart-warming story this is, I cheered when it was revealed that the equal give and take was between young man and old woman.

Francisca said...

This beautiful story of yours, Brian, stirs fond memories of visiting my grandmother regularly many years ago when we did not have the means to care for her at home (I was a student). In contrast to Mary, she was the story teller, even though she could not remember week to week what she had already told me a hundred times. Those were precious times, and I was happy when she died with her soft smooth hand holding mine. [Brian, is there a "with" missing? spend time an elderly lady]

Katherine said...

At the end of reading this beautiful piece of writing I had a tear on my cheek. Brian this was beautiful. I can relate so much to the relationship you have with your Mary because I have a Meredith that is much the same.
You my dear man..have a heart that knows how to love!
Beautiful words by an equally beautiful man!

Selina Kingston said...

Oh Brian, you are such a lovely guy

Stranger said...

You are so perfect and sweet. I wonder where you hide your imperfections! Get your wife on here! Will she dish the dirt? Wow. You did a fantastic job describing the scene. I used to volunteer at a local convalescent hospital and made so many friends and grew attached to a few of them. This story made me miss those days and wonder why I ever stopped volunteering.

Mmm said...

oh that is so poignant and enigmatic almost. I wan tot know more. Love it, Brian.

anthonynorth said...

Another fantastic remembrance. you bring these to life beautifully.

Candie Bracci said...

This is so beautiful Brian :)

Birdie said...

so very touching! I hope I won't have to be in a nursing home, alone, one day, but would that have to happen I do hope to have someone like you to come and share the stories with me ... this story touched something very deep inside of me Brian, thank you!!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

There's something about mary...

the walking man said...

You're sure it is the ground that holds Mary?

joanny said...

Brian

You blew me away with that one, you always manage to come up with some pretty wonderful poems and writings, but for me this was the best, you raised the bar.

Joanny

järnebrand said...

A treasure this was. Thank you. Hugs/ Jo.

Vicki Lane said...

I used to visit an elderly friend in a nursing home and was always saddened by the lonely hunger in so many residents' eyes.

blueviolet said...

I'll bet the visits were highlights in her life.

sarah said...

this is beautiful and I think your heart totally shines.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

sigh, this was so cool! What a lot of beautiful emotion.

Leslie said...

I'm glad Mary was not forgotten. And now her story is being remembered again...

l like many phrases here, but this one especially:

"i can already see her, sitting on the porch, blue mountains rising to either side as stoic companions,"

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave your encouraging comment on my blog this morning.

JamieDedes said...

This touched my heart ... you are good to see value in such things and to visit this lady. Thanks for sharing the story ... well written as all your work is.

Thanks for hosting One Shot and taking the time to visit participants and to comment.

Manda said...

Wow, what a beautifully written post. A sighting of treasures!

Nancy said...

I had a Mary in my life; she too is now gone. She blessed me greatly, and I miss her. Beautiful writing, honoring those too important to be forgotten.

Misty said...

brian, this is beautiful and evocative. i have a love for older people not all that common in those my age, but perhaps it is the lack of them in my own family? forgotten marys break my heart and those of the Father i serve, and i love this glimpse into the serving the one to love the other.

Magpie said...

Time well spent.

Wandering On Purpose said...

Beautiful words to share a precious memory.

Jennifer said...

Oh the world you unfold in this space Brian. It's special, and I love to visit.

Help! Mama Remote... said...

How giving ans selfless. We need more in our world giving back to those that once nurtured us.

deb said...

oh, this so made me cry Brian.
for many reasons...

just absolutely wonderful.

Brian Miller said...

thanks for the catch francisca! it is most certainly true...i knew her years ago..then moved away and when we went back she ha passed on but i remember our days...

Jodi said...

It's a wonderful thing to overcome someone's loneliness with love. Thank you for sharing. It makes you wonder if she did the same when she was young, and it came back to her.

patty said...

oh my. catch my breath there at the end. you set a beautiful example. thank-you for visiting today. :)

Meri said...

Such devotion captured so beautifully.

Meeko Fabulous said...

This reminds me of visiting my Nana in the nursing home. So many fond memories. Thanks for giving me a smile today. :)

Becky said...

This is my absolute favorite of yours Brian.This was beautiful.I can relate to this.At one time I was a Geriatric nurse.Oh these people put tears in my eyes.Remembering them even remembering my grandparents brings it all close to home.

Have a great weekend!

SuziCate said...

You my friend are a wonderful man. There is much wisdom in the elderly. We receive as much as we give. I have an elderly friend who is 98...a true treasure indeed.

Leeuna said...

Another wonderful story. This one brought a tear to my eye. Nursing homes can be such cold lonely places, made warmer by a visit from a friend or loved one. Beautiful writing...

Gladys said...

That was lovely. I too know Mary only her name is Marge

secret agent woman said...

Nice. I wonder if she thinks of you as someone from her past?

emily wierenga said...

i love that you do this for her, brian. my mum has a brain tumor, and often goes to an adult day center. to know that someone like you was visiting her... that would be the world. thanks for linking friend. e.

Bobbie said...

My Word, Brian! This is wonderful! It literally made me tear up. I love the visuals, you are so good at descriptive play. What a treasure to read this, tonight. Thank you for the smile :)

Menina said...

Tugging at the heart strings!

Syd said...

I am glad that you visit her. There are too many forgotten elderly people. They just need someone to notice.

PattiKen said...

So beautiful, Brian.

Kat_RN said...

Lovely. I take care of a lot of "Marys" at the hospital. I know exactly what you mean about how much they give. Sometimes, on a rough day, it is the Marys who keep me going. Your post made me smile, she may be gone, but she was loved.

rebecca said...

i love this...passing of life back and forth between souls.
it is amazing...
the gift, the power of being present.

thank you for your visit. i am honored.

Raven said...

Oh Brian, that was lovely. I had tears in my eyes by the end.

kkrige said...

You have such patience and tenderness Brian. Lovely

EcoGrrl said...

gorgeous

Graceful said...

This reminds me of my lovely, elegant grandmother. I visited her every week while she was at home and then in the nursing home. She passed away two winters ago, but I think about her every day.

mama-face said...

the description of her skin is so delicate and perfect. you are so good.

my name is mary.

Sophia said...

"a lady bug slowly crawling across the toe of her shoe"...one of my many favourite lines in this piece. This one brought back a few memories of me and my grandmother when I was a little girl.

Bridgette said...

Hey, I had to make my blog private. Email me your email address and I will add you.

kinteacher07@yahoo.com

Marla said...

Oh Brian, I seriously love this. I am staying with an elderly woman on the weekends and I felt like you were writing about her.

Great, B~