Lady with the mystic smile…
It grabs you so unexpectedly that it can be unsettling. A casual glance and it happens, you find yourself taken aback and pausing for yet another longer look. That’s what happened to me this morning when I pulled up Facebook for a casual check-in on the goings on amongst my friends.
There was the “happy to be home” status update. The proud parent announcement of a sporting event won. The vacation photo posting that chronicled fun times with family. And then, the cause of my unanticipated whiplash went scrolling by, my own personal Mona Lisa. The lady with the mystic smile!
A high school friend I haven’t seen or spoken to in almost 40 years had posted a picture of her mother at breakfast this morning. An elegant woman most certainly in her 80’s with what looks to be the softest of white hair and piercing, all knowing eyes, was looking through me.
I cannot tell you whether she was smiling or serious in her expression. I couldn’t stop looking at her. It was as if she was speaking to me…I wanted so to be in her presence. I don’t know exactly why, but I felt as though there were things that needed to be said.
A closer look at the picture made it clear that she was in a nursing home. The bed, the tray table and curtain in the background lead me to that conclusion. She was well groomed sitting in front of a hearty and appetizing breakfast. I was sad and glad at the sight.
She was in that moment a connection to the mother I lost so many years ago. This lady with the mystic smile was a friend of hers. Unlike my mother who did not live long enough to require the care of assisted living or nursing home residence, she has had the joy and pain of a long life.
I believe that is what I am seeing in her face. The message was clear that there is no life without joy and pain. They are two sides of the same coin.
It is special work that is done by the staff in nursing homes. They take our most precious loved ones and care for them as if they were their own. And it is clear to me that they have taken the time to care for my friend’s mother. And that has resulted in this unexpected gift to me…the picture of the lady with the mystic smile. My Mona Lisa!
My friends caption to her mother’s picture read: “Having breakfast with mom and cherishing every minute”…if you have the chance, I highly recommend you do the same!
Miss you mom!
(Out of respect for my friend and her mother’s privacy, I decided against including the picture she posted. Hopefully, I have described it adequately!)