It seems fitting that this shy little plant whose first name translates to "Navel" (in honour of its white centre, highlighted against its blue petals) should remind me of my mother. My own navel holds a corporal memory, a profound one, of her bringing me into this world.
And we're very close to seeing her out. I'm in Vancouver now, having charged my students with enough independent work that I can be spared for a few days. The care-troops need bolstering here as Mom fights being bedridden but increasingly needs help with toilet and personal care. Family discussions are smoothing the way for a transfer to hospice care as we try to choose the right moment, knowing how much our mother fears being institutionalized. Her fading cognition but fiercely independent spirit make it tough to explain that the care will be consistent and loving and gentle until the end. But we will make sure that it is.