Wednesday, August 11, 2004

To Not Remember

I am losing my mother. It has been happening for a few years now, she is in the clutches of that ugly monster Alzheimer’s disease. I call her and talk to her and I realize that nothing I say is sticking. I go to visit and she gets very upset with me over some bad thing I did years ago, or how not one of her children ever come to visit her.

Very early on, just after her diagnosis, she was at least appreciative of the little time we had left together. In these later stages she has become selfish, demanding and bitter and someone I don’t recognize. But I still call, and I still go for visits, and when I hang up or leave I cry.

I am learning a new way to love my mother; an unselfish, undemanding way. When I visit it isn’t about me, or what is going on in my life anymore, it is about her disease, and what she still has left. I want to honor her for being who she is; the woman who not only gave me life, but gave me the courage and faith to live the life I have.

It is from my mother that I get my skill at writing. Dad couldn’t write a grocery list. I get my looks from my mom, well maybe not the excess weight, but certainly the hair and facial features, I look nothing like my German Irish father. It is from my mother that I get my contemplative heart. Dad’s prayer was more restless and roving.

I still have my memories: I cherish them every day. I try to spur mom on to remember, but the disease won’t let her remember what she wants to, only what she finds.

It saddens me that the next time I see all of my siblings together in one place will be at my mother’s funeral. We missed the chance to all be together while mom could remember because two of my brother’s had other plans.

I have placed my mother in God’s gentle care, and have faith that after this, her exile she will rest in his loving embrace for eternity. I wish she didn’t have to live her purgatory here on earth. I hope when my time comes I have half the faith and courage she has.

I love you mom, even though you don’t remember.



Suzanne said...

Maggie ~
Well if there is one more thing that makes you like a sister to me besides so many other reasons, this is surely another one of them.
My heart and my soul goes out to you and I think you know that.
You are feeling all of the things you should and you are doing all
of the things that you can. You will never regret any of the prayers you say, the moments you give, or the good memories you choose to hold onto. I am so grateful that I was able to meet and
get to know your mother even if it was just a couple of occasions. I loved her instantly. She was a warm and amiable lady. Always keep that in your heart as that is how I will choose to remember her from the picnic you gave one day. She raised a big lovely family and did alot of it alone with her faith and like you said - what faith! Now, I believe if she could say one thing about you, it would be: "Wow, what a daughter! I am so proud!"
My prayers will always be with you and her and there are also two arms ready for hugs. Take them anytime you need them! Your friend, Suzanne

Suzanne said...

I really want to add just one more word or two. Although your mother may forget the faces, names, or words, I believe she will
never forget the love - not the spirit of your love nor her love for you. I don't believe my mother ever lost that for a moment. Believe me, if but only a spark, that love will remain always....

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if I have any of the right words for you, or if there are any right words. I still have my mother, (Thankyou Jesus) and I tried to imagine what life would be without her friendship, wisdom, and support. The idea frightens me more than anything.

I watched my grndmother suffer for so long, as well as all of her daughters and husband. It was a time filled with sadness. However, they all tried to keep their chins up, and even occassionally we used some humor. Now when we think of those dark days before she passed, we try to remember the times she made us all laugh, rather than the days she did'nt remember any of us.

As mentioned before, I did'nt experience it with my own mother, but I have seen the pain it caused her. My heart goes out to you, and your siblings. Of course my prayers for you all as well. It is not an easy journey, but God will carry you through it because you have asked Him to.

Keep praying and turning to Him, as well as those He has put in your life who love you and want to share your burden. You are doing a wonderful job thus far, she may not seem to know it today, but later, she will look down on you and watch over you all. God Bless!


Meg said...

Maggie ~ my prayers are with you, your mom, and your family. I don't have many other words but I wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you.

ukok said...

I found this deeply moving. I needed you to know that.

God Bless.