Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Had to Get Rid of My Horse and My Gun

Mary Helen had both a restful and active night, and has been very lucid; praying and whispering "I love you."  My mom (Mary Helen's daughter-in-law) has all but crawled in bed with her, and is stroking her face like you would a little child with a fever, to which she responds by gazing, sightless, at my mother's face.

Mary Helen is blind now, and almost deaf, but is still at her essence a country girl from Tennessee.  When I once asked her what the biggest changes in her life were after getting married, (at age 14) she said, "I had to get rid of my horse and my gun."  That is Mary Helen.

I can't tell you what a privilege this has all been, to participate and rise to Mary Helen's weakness, need, and childlike trust throughout these days. It pierces the heart, but at the end of the day, and at the end of a life, all we have is "I love you" to offer and to receive. And if this is not so at the end of a life, then what a shame that is.  Chasing other things is pointless in and of themselves; money is just paper, and prestige just a fiction.

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