Years ago, when my mother first came to Minnesota following her neck surgery, she was feeble enough that I had to help her in the shower. We set a chair in the bathtub. She had to wear a neck contraption that looked like a little visor over the hole in her neck that deferred the water so it would not enter her the hole in her neck or she would have drowned. I washed her hair and back but she did most of the other parts. It was difficult for her but good for her motion. When it came to her feet, I watched her take a washcloth, soap it up generously, and massage her feet, one at a time. She was so thorough. Using her forefinger wrapped in the cloth she scrubbed between each toe. Then she used slow circular motions to wash the sole and top of her foot. It was meditative to watch. It seemed to soothe her.
My mother had a long narrow mark lengthwise across the sole of one foot. She told me that her mother had stepped on a snake while pregnant and that is the reason for it. My mother was not a superstitious woman. I can’t really say whether she told me this with tongue-in-cheek or to share with me an old wives’ tale that was to be handed down through the generations.
It may seem strange that I would remember such a moment with my mother. It is a memory that returns to me every time I take a shower and wash my feet. I don’t fuss quite the way she did, but whenever I lift my leg and apply the soapy rag to one foot and then the other, she always comes to my mind. It is as though she is using that memory as an opportunity to come visit me from the other side.
I have read a few books by psychics about this place sometimes called “the other side”. Heaven, I guess. Sylvia Brown had a whole book written on her experience of spending time in that place. I remember thinking that, if heaven is how she described it, I don’t think I would want to go there…angels floating around and tall buildings made of gold…not my taste at all. Another psychic said that “the other side” is invisible to us but is actually right in our midst floating about three feet above us where the souls of the dead are doing the same kinds of things were are doing like digging in a heavenly garden.
I’ve read that our loved ones can communicate with us from that place and there are actual techniques to make that happen. I have to be honest, I don’t give a rip about most of what these psychics say, but I don’t discount everything either. I tend to want to believe some of it especially this last morsel. I find it comforting, indeed, to believe that our loved ones continue to watch over us and care for us. I know scores of people who have had experiences that they believe came as a result of deceased people coming to them. Many talk to their loved ones as though they are there listening. Praying to the saints, only in this case the saint is Grandpa. I have to include myself as one of these. I wouldn’t call these psychic experiences, though. Perhaps I don’t like being associated with what some people might consider flaky business. Or maybe it just feels so ordinary to me.
I suppose this is a pretty wide sweep, talking about feet washing and my mother and psychics. But it is one of those mornings when I think I need to believe someone is nearby caring about what I am doing today. I can’t explain why that is. It just is.