A year ago, I asked my siblings to come visit Mom for her 79th birthday. I was afraid that she would not recognize them on her 80th birthday. A year later, I wish I could say that I was wrong.
Mom still seems to enjoy my visits, though it is becoming increasingly rare that she knows who I am. Today she enjoyed the attention she got as we video chatted with family, but she had no clue who we were. Even after I told her that I was her son, that fact slipped her mind just minutes later.
Dementia is a weird disease. It has crept up slowly on Mom for years. She fought it with reading and word search games and jigsaw puzzles. Now it has all but won that battle.
Mom has always been a little scatter-brained. Just like me. She is human with all her faults and failures and strengths and love. I could sit here and recount all her short comings. That would seem pointless in her current condition. I would rather look back at the mom who taught me to care for others. Mom who bandaged my scrapes. Mom who encouraged me to try harder. Mom who proudly held her grand-babies. Who shared photos of the same with anyone who would look.
Life’s too short to hold on to the negative. It’s too short to not listen to those stories of years gone by. Many of those stories are gone for good now, vanished from her memory. Those that are left are so jumbled up as to have little or no correlation with the truth. I will cherish the memories that mom has passed down to me. I will continue to visit her if just for the fleeting smiles when she gets some glimpse of recognition in her mind.
All this is to say, cherish the time you have with your parents – your whole family for that matter. It slips away far too quickly! Feel free to comment below especially if you have any amusing or special parent stories. And then, have a chat with your mom.