This AARP psa goes straight to my heart – so many memories of helping Mom with her shower. What you see is totally possible, the affection between two adults without a smidgen of infantilization.
Mom & I had the blessing of experiencing this, as I helped her shower, then briskly toweled her down.
By her last few years, an ancient injury to her left shoulder rotator cuff affected her movement in that arm; she was unable to give her right side the thorough soaping in the shower that her other arm could easily deliver to her left side.
Mom & I wove a sphere of ritual around her shower time, in large thanks to an invigorating wash cloth, a luscious soap & her ahhhhhhh loofah. We took special, honoring care washing & drying the scar from her partial mastectomy, always grateful that she’d never needed any treatments beyond the surgery.
As I washed every part of her body, the act served as a bonding rather than an invasion. And how she loved the get-the-blood-flowing, revitalizing rub down afterward with the big bath towel – we’d laugh as I’d briskly “buff” her back!
Mom’s attitude blessed both of us. She accepted that there were things her body simply would not let her do anymore. Instead of anger or feeling disempowered, she chose to experience it as a natural, albeit stinko, progression.
Mom’s shower time gave both of us the opportunity to honor her body, to give thanks for all it had done & been for her throughout a lifetime of jump rope & roller skating, high school dances, walking down the aisle with her O! Best Beloved, holding her five babies, tending their bumps & bruises, baking bread & rustling up batches of her mess ‘a fried tomatoes, holding Dad’s hand as he lay in coma, helping Mike & Kerry down in Australia, being present for so many of her Bryn Athyn friends & neighbors, helping me dress for my wedding, making dinner for the three of us here at Squirrel Haven on particularly crazed days at work, celebrating her grandchildren’s birthdays & graduations & weddings, answering e-mailed questions from local college psych students as she transitioned from this world to the next.
Showers were a time of blessing & bonding – I thank AARP for stirring special, long forgotten memories with this spot-on psa.
psa – public service announcement