The combination of a bright moon, a restless mind, and Rosa Parks madly scratching beside me woke me up in the middle of the night. My little dog’s allergies are worst this time of year, and they manifest in red, itchy ears. She scratches them until they are raw. I reached over and patted her. I put one thumb inside her ear, to support it while I gave her a good rub with my other fingers. Sometimes this feels so good to her that she flops over, eyes closed, as if in a faint. Not last night. She continued to dig at the offending ear with the paw of her hind leg, thump-thump-thumping as the leg hit the mattress, whimpering when she caught the tender flesh with a claw. Poor baby!
“I wish you comfort,” I said to myself, in my half-asleep state, a tiny prayer for her well-being.
As soon as the thought came to mind, I realized that was the same wish I’d held close, and repeated often, in the days before my mother’s death. We were past the shock and disbelief. We were beyond hoping for a miracle that would keep her with us for another ten or twenty years. When it came right down to it, the best and only thing we could do was keep Mom comfortable. In our large family, we worked together toward that end, making sure that pillows were fluffed and sheets were wrinkle-free, that her frail body was clean, turned and supported, and that medicines were dispensed on time. Other things – like holding her limp hand, or laying down beside her in bed – were ways of comforting ourselves, too. And the mantra that ran through my head, day and night, was, “I wish you comfort.”
To be comfortable is something I never thought of much, when I was younger. I was stronger in mind and body; my joints were more limber. It was easier both to move and to be still. Now, I don’t dare sit, stand or lay in one position for long. Regular stretching, and rearrangement and readjustment of muscles and bones is necessary if I want to be able to move when I’m ready to. My knees note every step as I go up and down ladders or stairs, and I don’t dare crouch down without assurance that there is a hand-hold nearby to assist me in getting back up.
Because the odds and ends of aging make me more aware of discomfort, I am more attuned to making myself comfortable. I opt for comfort over style in clothing, always. If I feel a chill, I don’t hesitate to add a cardigan. If I get a headache, I never wonder if it will go away on it’s own; I take aspirin right away. Though I like a morning shower, in the evening I often run a hot bath, just for the soothing relaxation of it. I find my house is filling with an assortment of little pillows and cushions: one to sit on, if I sit on the hard chair; one for behind my back on the couch; one for between my knees as I sleep…it’s all about being comfortable.
Comfort is one of the little things, big in importance, that are worth wishing for, and worth the effort.