Following from my May 16th blog, Maximize Your Five Senses, I will be writing (all week) about each of the five senses (and the sixth sense) and sharing with you some of the wisdom that my mother imparted to me.
This series of blogs is dedicated to her.
“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion – all in one.”
― John Ruskin, Modern Painters
My mother always spoke to me with her eyes. She was most definitely not mute, but she nevertheless preferred to communicate via her eyes. Oh, the conversations we used to have! Just a glance ― grey-green eyes meeting grey-green eyes ― message sent and received. I knew exactly what she was thinking.
She taught me how to be quiet, stay still and watch. Observe. Focus. Notice every detail. See beyond the obvious.
She taught me that a person’s eyes tell a story. In a flash, she could tell when someone was lying or when someone was trying to hide some emotional scar. She was able to see beneath the surface. Her eyes missed nothing.
She taught me well.
What I know now, that I didn’t know then, is that my mother was training me to be a writer.
With this heightened sense of sight (a great feat for me, since I’ve been wearing very thick eyeglasses, since the age of two!), I observe everything keenly and then, I write.
Our sense of sight is one of the most – if not the most – precious of the five senses. It is so important to take care of it. I nearly caused some serious damage to my eyes when I went through a phase where I would sleep with my contact lenses in, for days on end. Foolish vanity. I now wear my eyeglasses 99% of the time. And my lenses are perfectly focused.
When my mother was in hospice care, she – along with many of the other patients – would be wheeled into a lounging area. She was often confused as to where she was (and why). Her confusion, however, did not extend to me. She knew exactly who I was. One of my last memories of her was when I was walking down the corridor towards the lounge and, from about a hundred feet away, she spotted me instantly. Her eyes danced, as she clapped her hands with joy. Her eyes followed me as I came closer – grey-green eyes locked onto grey-green eyes. We embraced and I held her small, frail body as tightly as I could, without hurting her.
That was eight years ago this week. Not a day goes by without me remembering her expressive, mischievous eyes. And when I look into the mirror, there they are.
by VALARIE M. SHEA
Gone are the eyes that watched me grow
The eyes that were able to see into my soul
Together we climbed mountains and made it through the pain
Only to find out that someday it would be forever changed
As you’ve gotten weaker, I’ve gotten stronger
Able to take care of myself even though I didn’t want to
You’d be proud of my wit, my confidence and my charm
People say I’m just like you and I know all about your charms
The eyes are in my heart, the eyes that saw my soul
But gone are the beautiful eyes, the eyes that watched me grow