Mom isn’t talking much. At least not with words. But her face, her face tells me so much. Her whole face crinkles when she’s in pain, and when she really hurts – like when we have to move her – her cheeks flush with the exertion of bearing up. When just her brows are furrowed, she’s uncomfortable but not in too much pain.

When we tell her something good – like tonight I mentioned that Dad had barbecue and was watching basketball (two of his favorite things in the world – she smiled, happy that the man she loves is okay. When I asked her if her medicine was yummy, she got this crooked smirk, sarcasm in a tilt of her lips.

And sometimes, we don’t even need her face to tell us. When, like now, we hear her breath coming through the monitor, we know she is sleeping and well.

We hope that she, too, doesn’t need words all the time to know of our love. While she sleeps, Dad sits beside her and holds her hand. I know she knows he is there, his rough, wood-worker’s hands caressing the softness of her piano fingers. I know, too, that when my brother and I lean down to kiss her forehead she feels us loving her.

Then, when we say I love you and she whispers out, “Love you, too.” Well, that’s more than we need.

Placid Angel