I arrived early at Mom's residence, 7:30 am, but not early enough.
Instead of being there at 6 or 6:30 am, I half-wakened at 6:30 am and, having gone to bed at 2 am after celebrating a Seder at a friend's house, was unable to persuade myself to rise until 7 am.
When I finally showed up at Ocean View Assisted Living, I saw a vision: Mom in her Easter finest walking down the hall (with her walker) to breakfast, being trailed by April, who had dressed her, and Retanya, who was pushing the wheelchair in case Mom needed to sit.
"Oh, thank you," I said. "I'm late! I meant to get here in time to dress her."
They know that I do it every Sunday, but apparently Mom had been thinking about Easter all night and had wakened early and tried to get started--a vestige of her old self, the "Hurry up--I'll do it myself" mother I grew up with.
"She was dressing herself," April said. "She had taken off her nightgown and her diaper when we arrived. She said she wanted to surprise you."
"Yes, sometimes I have found her lying there with her nightgown off when I get there at 6:30 or 7 am, but not her Depend--oh dear!"
"I just need my V-8," Mom interjected, calm and collected. "Anne, can you get it?
"Yes, Mom," I agreed. "Happy Easter, everybody."
After taking her to her seat in the dining room, I went back to her room and encountered Bethlhem, who further described the resurrection scene.
"She was lying there not dressed, with a new diaper between her legs--I don't know how she got it."
"They're on her bedside table," I said.
"And we said to her, 'Why don't you wait for Anne?' But she said, 'What if I want to surprise her? It was so sweet--like a child. She wanted to surprise you on Easter."
"Wow," I said, grateful that this year's Easter agitation had taken a positive turn.
When I took the V-8 back, Ilona thanked me for the potted Easter lily I had brought.
"Evelyn, would you like some tea?" she then asked.
"Yes, if it's not too much trouble," Mom said. "I know you have a lot of people to serve."
Ilona and I were stunned by her courtesy and insight. There were only two others in the dining room so far, and usually Mom and the other residents demand to be helped immediately with whatever goal they have, such as being served the meal or being taken back to their rooms.
But today Mom had risen a new woman.
Leaving Mom at breakfast, I returned to her room to take my own shower and dress for church.
Because of this early start for Mom's breakfast, we will probably arrive early for the crowded 9:30 am Easter service and more easily find a spot to park her wheelchair.