Enjoying a Memorial Day Weekend with family. I got to visit my Silver Hair companion yesterday. Mom looks good for her 88 years. Frail but well. She was sitting in her own comfortable reclining lounge chair from home, and she was alert. Generally she would doze off but she fought against falling asleep and she told me she wanted to be awake all the time I was there with her. She was so delighted that I had come. Part of the time she just listened to me tell her stories of my students, like the two precious seniors that came to see me this past week. One was Francheska, who was an absolutely outstanding student. Francheska showed up at my classroom suddenly during my lunch time with her yearbook in hand for me to sign. I was so clumsy, and asked her if she would mind coming back in fifth period so I could finish my lunch, and could you believe, she did. Then on Friday, I was again having lunch when another student showed up with a friend with camera in hand. She was a student I had not seen in at least two years since I had her, and had always been hardworking, striving to improve her English skill, but very quiet. So frankly I was surprised. When I asked her if she had gone to say goodbye to all her teachers, and she said no, only those she really liked and had been good to her. Then she put her arm on my shoulder and had her friend take a picture of us. It was a gift. I basked in the experience for a while. Students rarely share their affection so openly and sincerely since there is so much peer pressure, I will treasure it. Of course I had to tell mom, that so many times as a teacher we don't know who is listening and how much we mean to them. I had no idea.
I also told mom about the horrible weather we have been having in Orlando, including on Friday a possible tornado not far from my school. Then as we endured the severe weather my fourth period was extended and my sixth period was eliminated. Because of that I was able to see the seniors walk, as I headed out to my car. I was lucky to spot at least three former students who smiled and waved. It was a sweet moment, as they jumped, cheered, and later ran out of school for the last time. They didn't realize that a very special part of their lives had just ended. Their high school experience will end with their graduation next Friday, unfortunately I won't be able to attend.
Anyway, Mom listened to my stories. She listened to my riddles, many of which she told me as I grew up, and in turn I told my own children. I got to help her have dinner, feeding her like I am sure she had done for me when I was little. We sang some old Spanish songs, like La Malaguena and "Que bonitos ojos tienes debajo de esas dos cejas, debajo de esas dos cejas." Fortunately, the home she is at, is a very loving place, and when she hears certain voices her eyes light up. She did ask me, rather stated that she didn't understand why she was there and she listened calmly as I explained what she no longer remembered: that she had a heart attack over a year and a half ago, and in March she suffered a fall that definitely will not allow her to climb that Yokahu tower in El Yunque which we loved to climb. She is 88 years old now with Alzheimer's and it doesn't get any easier when I think that there are so many things we will no longer do. But tomorrow is another day, and I hope to go see her at noon and spend a couple of quiet hours with her, before I go back to Orlando. Each time I leave, it is harder, but I will trust God that she will be there when I come back, perhaps a little stronger and just as sweet as I have always known her. Dios te bendiga Mami. Te quiero mucho.