a reading at a street fair
My mother has always been a woman of grace. She is now at 80 with long, silvery hair, her skin still smooth and soft. She has dementia. My granddaughter calls
her Old Rapunzel.
Like Rapunzel she is trapped in a tower. Hers is a tower of time, forgetfulness, and a constant pulsing Now moment.
I am 68, retired, and have chosen to be her caregiver. When I was 10 my grandmother lived with us in two small rooms on the second floor. When I was five my
great grandmother lived with us in a small back bedroom on the first floor. We care for each other in this family. Mom spends weekdays at a dementia daycare,
and we can afford respite care. This is not an odious task.
I am not sure my mother remembers who I am. She knows I am a kind lady that helps her. She rarely speaks these days. EWTN, the Catholic channel is her
constant TV companion. She loves the Daily Mass and Mother Angelica and the Rosary. At night when I was growing up we fell asleep to the rosary on the radio.
I call her Helen, because Mum confuses her. She is still ambulatory but needs a wheelchair for long distances.
Today we are going to a street fair. They are closing the streets to parking for a few days to accommodate pedestrians, vendors, and musicians.
It is cool this May day, balmy and beautiful. We wheel through the streets and crowds of people. I stop to buy a paper cone of fresh hot french fries. It is finger food,
and easy for Mom to manage. Strolling, we stop to listen to a harpist and peruse a booth selling sun catchers. Farther along, a stand is making cotton candy. Not
the prepackaged stale stuff in a plastic bag, the old-fashioned spun, sugary kind. This is finger food too, and we walk along spun sugar melting in our mouths.
I am intrigued by a table I notice farther along the street, draped with a purple velvet tablecloth and a sign stating "Tarot of the Saints---ten dollars a reading". I
am not inclined to oracles of any kind, but the young pleasant faced reader tells me the proceeds are going to our local Alzheimer's Association. I tell her I want the
reading for Helen.
She fans the cards on the table and I help my mother scan her hands above the cards and to select three of them.
The first card we are told represents Helen. It is The Moon--Mother Mary, beautifully colored. I hold it out for my mother to see. She smiles and begins to sing,
"Immaculate Mary, our hearts are on fire, they beauty so wondrous fills all our desire. Ave Maria." They sing this at the shrine at Fatima, a place of miracles.
The reader tells me it represents unconditional love, forgiveness, and mothering.
The second card is the 3 of Swords. A picture of Mary's heart pierced by three swords. This is the past the tarot reader tells me. Through suffering we learn empathy
The final card is the Fool, St. Francis facing forward.. I interpret this on my own---go forward, with trust.
My mother continues to hum and sing as we wheel toward home. Did we just have a small miracle? I guess you never know with Sidewalk Tarot.