Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)
TITLE: A Cup of Cold Water
By Janice Fitzpatrick
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Yet, it had already been almost seven weeks and still no sign of recovery. I pushed the green entrance button by the door and slowly took in a deep breath. Hospice was meeting me here, so were bits of hopelessness.
She was resting when I entered the room and I gently brushed her cheek with my hand. “Mom, I’m here, it’s Laura.” Her eyes slowly opened sleepily.
“Maybe I could get some cold water please, I’m so thirsty.” Her voice quivered.
I scanned the top of her nightstand to see that it was empty and leaned in towards her ear so she could hear me. “Mom, I’ll be right back. I’m getting it now. I brought you some bottles of water and they’re in the kitchen.” “Okay, she meekly acknowledged.
The once sparkly eyes gradually met mine but now were dull and lifeless. Lips which usually smiled or occasionally tightened when something displeased her not only drooped to the left side but were drawn up. I kissed her graying head. “Love you mom.”
Stirring thickener in everything she ate or drank had just become part of taking care of her for the last several weeks since she had difficulty swallowing. The problem was mom hadn’t wanted to eat much of anything in the hospital and the nursing facility.
At least she did love her water. I peered down at the gaunt figure clad in the tent sized nightgown and choked back my tears.
As I placed the cup of iced liquid in her trembling hands, watching her enjoy each sip, memories came flooding through my mind.
When my brother and I were young every Monday evening was officially chocolate pudding night. Out of breath from playing we followed the tempting aroma to our kitchen where mom was waiting with a bowl of the creamy fudge concoction and a large glass of ice water to wash down the richness.
What a combination, warmth for the tummy and cold for the palette.
“You make the best pudding in the world momma”, I chorused through mouthfuls of delight.
Actually everything she did seemed “best”. From staying up with us while we worked on homework with offerings of refreshments and backrubs, to reading to us and teaching us about the one she had faith in, mom had a way of serving and every act of love was indeed like a cup of refreshing water.
As I waited for the hospice nurse to talk with me, my attention was drawn to just outside the window where a few mourning doves splashed about in a whimsical but thought provoking mouth shaped bird bath, occasionally pecking at the wetness.
I was reminded of Revelations 3: 16. “So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”
I had studied the interpretations to learn what was meant by the passage. Laodicea, a city found in scriptures, was situated in the Lycus River Valley. It held two vital waterworks, a complex fountain and a tower that transported water by an aquaeduct from the hot springs in Hierapolis.
I began thinking of how mom’s offerings of love had been like the cold water at Colossae, a neighboring city, and even the hot water in Hierapolis that bathed many a weary and worn body.
How many times had she soothed hurts and worries away with her prayers and encouraging words or just a listening ear?
The pipes in the aqueduct system, I learned, often became calcified and so water would be blocked from moving freely.
Christ had asked the church to not be lukewarm or useless but to be helpful, a blessing to the world. I wanted to give back to mom all that she had done for us, to make a difference to her and to reach out to others.
“Thank you for always being there for us, you’re so precious.” I brushed my lips against her satiny cheek.
“I’m still praying and believing for a miracle mom.” “Yes, I am too,” her eyes shifted towards the nightstand. “More cold water please.” I tried to smile. “You can have all you want mom, I brought plenty.”
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