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.