We had a weekend visitor a few weeks ago. My mother. I’m grateful to still have my mother, but I really miss my Mom. My mother seemed happy the weekend she was here. She was chatty and engaging. She was comfortable doing with us whatever we did. She sat on the front porch in the morning and chatted with Doug. We visited her sister. We looked at old pictures as I scanned them into the computer. She didn’t recognize me or my sister in a picture taken when we were about 14 or 15 in the mid 70’s with my cousin, Jamie.
“Who is this?” She asked, her eyebrows bunched together as she looked at it. “They look familiar.” Finally I said, “That’s me, Trisha, and Jamie.” She looked at it again and said “Oh yes.” But I could tell by the look in her eye, that it was just a picture of three teenage girls to her. That makes me sad.
The visitor a few weeks ago, seemed like a distant relative. It’s a weird, disjointed, feeling. Like having someone you don’t really know, spending time with you. She’s still mother, but my Mom is gone.
My Mom was always a take charge type of person. If someone was sick, she was there. It didn’t matter if it was her own child or someone elses, her brother, her sister, her mother, her father, a friend, or an in-law, She was there to do whatever needed to be done. A cool cloth on your forehead, a moist swab for your mouth, brushing your hair, tidying you up, making you feel human even as some prepared to meet death.
If I needed Mom or if anyone else needed Mom, she dropped what she was doing and she came. She was truly there for you. Heart, Mind, and Soul.
I miss my friend, my Mom. She was my very first friend. She was my truest friend and champion. When I made a meringue pie and the meringue fell, I threw up my hands and screamed “I GIVE UP!” She walked to the refrigerator and handed me the eggs and said “Start over! No daughter of mine gives up so easily.” When I was wallowing in self pity one Sunday afternoon over a break up, she laughed at me. She was tired of it and felt it had gone on long enough. She finally said, “I can’t believe you’re going to let that little toad of a man upset you.”
It sneaks up on you and catches you unaware. When Mom became forgetful, I told myself that it was just a part of getting older. But then you wake up and realize that it’s something more. It’s this epidemic, called Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a thief. It’s taken my Mom a little at a time until she has become just a shadow of the person that she was.
She’s a tiny little woman who is happy just being wherever she is. As long as she’s is content and happy, I can’t really ask for anything else. But I cry. I sob. I wallow in my sadness for a bit. Then I pick myself up, wipe away my tears, and put one foot in front of another. My circle of friends and family are filled with people doing the same. I am not alone, but I am.