Isn't she beautiful? This is Adele, aka Adeline, aka Mom. Two years ago she had open heart surgery. In the two years since, she's had perhaps a dozen hospital stays, but she's also been on a cruise around the cape of South America,
and flown on a helicopter to a stand on a glacier in Alaska.
She is a terrific flirt. Here she is with one of the cowboys on an 'estancia' outside of Buenos Aires. I'm not sure who thinks they got luckier.... Actually, they both seem to be enjoying themselves. And that is one thing that I have always admired about her...she speaks easily with everyone, has a knack for working a room, or making people feel as if they've known her forever.
I admire that because she is so much my opposite, I am uncomfortable in crowds and would much rather be reading a book in solitude than talking to anyone. And that is the difference between us....
Adele's oxygen is getting out and 'being with people' that is her life blood, where she is happiest. Just last week, after she had spent the day in bed to weak to move, her doctor gave her the choice: check yourself into the hospital this evening or come to the doctor's office in the morning prepared to spend the night at the hospital. Mom chose to take her chances the next morning...so that she could go to her Wednesday night dinner at church.
I got home from work just in time to see Adele climb into her friend's car as they headed off to church. Three hours later she called and asked me to pick her up from a different friend's house, where she'd gone to visit after church.
I, on the other hand, wilt unless I have my requisite time alone to write, read, and simply stare out the window. Which I suppose is good if you are a writer.
Here we are at a cocktail party as we cruised the Chilean Fjords.
Generally I don't like to stand this close to her because she is obviously a rock star, which just makes me look bad.
I wouldn't mind staying in this corner, whereas she can't wait to get out of my grasp and go mingle. I returned to my cabin shortly after this photo was taken. To happily sit on the balcony, write in my journal, and take photos of the fjords.
This photo captures her real beauty. I originally envisioned this essay to be one of those chest thumping, heart-string tugging odes to caring for an aging parent. Oh, the sacrifices.
Then I started compling these photos and that essay just fell apart. This is clearly a woman with a lust for life. Yes, we face an almost daily high wire act as we work with her doctors to balance her myriad of medications and stave off congestive heart failure.
What I have learned from her, every day, and what I love about her more and more is that she embraces the challenges and adventures of each day with joy and surety of her faith. She is often strong where I am weak and I hope visa versa.
Someday, perhaps I will write one of those obnoxiously pretentious essays that paint the adult child as the long suffering hero who gallently cares for the ailing parent.
Actually, I hope it never comes to that. I hope we are both better than that.