She loved to dance, my Ma. But she’d only do it for her girls. Behind closed doors where she could twist and turn and laugh. When she first lost herself, first forgot everything and everyone but her Dear Bill, all her inhibitions seemed to fall away, and she’d dance just about anywhere. Give her half a tune or jingle, and there she’d go.
This morning she stared at the air instead of through it. As if that bit of empty space was a solid sort of thing; and it was a solid sort of seeing she was doing. She raised her arm to touch something that wasn’t there. And it frightened me.
I played Christmas music.
It’s only September.
She dropped her hand and said the word, “dance”. So I did. Long, drawn-out, pirouettes. Pliés. She tapped her foot and smiled and I laughed and found joy in it. That’s the hard part. The finding joy. When she doesn’t know who you are or who she is; or whether she’s in this world or another. I have to stop sometimes. To remind myself to remember…that she’s still the same person, still the same soul. And that that soul is part of my own.
Ma loved to dance. So today…I did. For her.
– September 22, 2011