A Visit to the Present

This past weekend my dad’s 98-year-old wife taught me a valuable lesson.  She didn’t say anything new.  It wasn’t earthshaking information.  Simply an unforgettable object lesson.

I love this woman. And she loves me…when she remembers who I am.  The times when it all falls into place, she is excited to see me.  She holds my hand and calls me her beautiful daughter.  She reaches for me as I leave, waiting for the reassurance that I will come back again.

Even when she can’t place me, she views me with affection, if somewhat quizzically.  She points at me, smiles, and says, “I know you, don’t I?

Leelah Boone AbbottMy dad’s wife has always loved to sing.  She smiles and taps her head when she can’t remember the words to the catchy tunes and hymns of her youth.  Some of the songs are familiar to me and I can help with the lyrics, but not all of them.  So before my visit I searched ITunes and created a personalized CD.

As we drove the country roads she sang exuberantly with Gene Autry and Slim Whitman:  “Don’t Fence Me In”, and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”.  Within minutes after we had finished the CD she would look over at me and hum, Gene Autry the Singing Cowbow“South of the Border, Down Mexico Way”, and I would start the music again.

My heart swelled with joy that I could so simply create an hour of total enjoyment.

I punched the “play” button one last time as we were driving back to her home. It hit me as we sang “You are My Sunshine”.  She would forget our lovely afternoon before she could tell her daughter the next day (maybe even before dinner tonight).  I knew that on my next visit she would say, as usual, “Oh, my, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen you, hasn’t it?”  And I would smile and nod in response even though we had seen each other recently.Slim Whitman

That’s my lesson.  It isn’t important that she remember.  It isn’t even important that I remember.  It is a beautiful sunny day filled with music and love and wondrous sights.  It is magic between us.  Nothing more is necessary to make it better.

The present moment is all that really counts.




April 23, 2012


  1. This is a beautiful and touching account of your time with your dad’s wife. She was quite a looker in her youth!

    The present moment is all that really counts. How I try to remember that message all the time.


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