This was written some time ago, in early 2008, and posted twice before. I am bordering on establishing a tradition.
Moms... we all have them, the vast majority of us love them.
My mother is slipping away. She's 89 and she hasn't been herself for
many years. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in her sixties and was
put on a wonder drug, of sorts, called Aricept. It held the disease at
bay to some extent for decades. Her short term memory went first, of
course. But Mom, a clever woman, saw this as a benefit. Every day was a
new world, a new life. She always had an optimist's view of life. Now I
don't know what she sees or hears or knows. This disease took away the
woman who raised me. After my father passed away, I took her into my
home. We tried to care for as best we could but the time came when we
could no longer see to her needs. She has been in the care of some nice
people out at an assisted living facility for several years now.
I go to see her when I can... and when I think I can handle it. It's
hard on me. I remember her as a vibrant, cheerful, witty woman who was
always there when I needed her. She could always cheer me up when I was
down or life seemed bleak. Now she can't. Now I have to do that on my
own. And the worst is after I have been to visit her. I look for some
sign of recognition in her eyes and never see it. I visit just before
lunch because she seems the most animated at that time. I try to think
of things she used to say to me to cheer me up and repeat them to her in
the hopes they'll somehow break through that fog in her brain. She
seems loved by the ladies who tend to her needs. they all speak of her
with caring and joy. Some are as sad as I am to see her as she is now.
My mother had a way of getting a point across with humor. She would
admonish me to be careful by warning me that "If you break your leg,
don't come running to me." Or, "If you drown, I'll never speak to you
again." As silly as these were, they stuck in my mind. Nothing seemed
serious with her while you still knew how concerned she was. Her humor
has failed her now. She doesn't smile much and, when she does, there's
no way to know why.
It doesn't seem fair that this woman should
finish out her life oblivious to most of the things around her. She
read, she painted, she wrote stories, she even invented childrens'
games. Oh, none were ever published or developed but that didn't matter.
Her paintings were always flawed in some technical way; shadows fell
the wrong way, perspective just a little off. They were nothing you'd
expect to find in an art show but her family loved them. Her stories
were simple and naive. Her games too easy. But you could see her slight
off kilter view of the world in them.
Because I didn't get along
with my siblings, I spent many of my years far from my parents. I
rarely wrote or even called. It was never my way. I took after my father
in that regard. In the last couple of decades, I tried to re-connect
with my parents. I think I did re-establish some relationship to my
father, just a little, in the few years before he passed away. My mother
acted as if I was never far away. Now I don't know if she knows I
exist, that she had a son, what her universe is like. I think that is
what hurts the most... to not be a part of her life anymore.
Mom passed away on July 25th of 2008. Rest in peace, Mom, rest in peace. I miss you every day but you remain in my heart.
A Night Unremembered
2 years ago