Contemplate the face of love growing old

Perhaps you are fortunate enough to be able to visit your mother,
who has become very old, and whom you love deeply.
As you stand in the doorway of the room,
she looks up to see you, and her face brightens.
Her look is the look of love,
as it always has been.

You know that her memory is fading, as she is fading,
but her eyes still follow you eagerly as you sit down beside her.
Her hand reaches for yours, and presses it.
As she absent-mindedly looks around the room,
she continues to feel your hand and wrist with her thin fingers.
It is the energy of love in her, still glowing.
You feel the warmth of her love being transmitted to you,
as it always has been.

You see how her skin has grown thin, as she has grown thin.
It is patterned with creases, and areas of different colour.
It falls away from her chin in a loose sheet, revealing,
when she moves her head to the side,
the ligaments in her neck.
When she turns to look at you, and you smile at her,
you see her smiling back.
Her skin still moves to recreate the old smile lines on her face.
Her smile has not faded.
It is still an expression of love,
as it always has been.

You see the fading in her hair.
The dark colour has transformed to shades of grey.
It is combed down with a side parting.
The look is familiar to you.
It is the style you have seen in small black and white photographs
from eighty years ago, when she was a little girl.
You are seeing the young girl still present in the old woman.
And in between the young girl and the old woman
is the mother you remember from childhood:
beautiful, fresh, energetic, full of love.
She is fading, but she is still full of love,
as she always has been.

And when the time comes to leave,
and she wants you to stay,
you can dance round the floor a little,
and soothe the pain of separation.
We are still shaped by love
as we always have been.

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