Losing Mom

At some point in time, a school of children lost a loving, competent, skilled teacher. A church family lost an active, giving member. Extended family lost their sister, sister-in-law and aunt. Long-time friends lost companionship and intimacy with a trusted sweet soul. My children lost their grandmother. I lost my mother-in-law, one of my best friends. Now, it appears, my husband may have lost his mother.

There were signs she was leaving. An occasional lack of recognition of a favorite memory. An embarrassing slip of not remembering familiar names. Always a careful, cautious person who thoughtfully deliberated her words, having a care for feelings of others, she became more out-spoken, less guarded, less aware of how her growing lack of patience caused her other grand-daughter to feel rejected.

The more she disappears, the more it seems my mind races with memories of her over the years. The excitement in her voice when our daughter, her second grand-daughter was born. The joy on her face when she first held our baby in her arms. The tears in her eyes when she saw me for the first time after I’d had an accident, suffering injuries. The way in which she offered encouragement, tears in her voice, “I’m sorry you have to suffer through that” when I’d describe physical therapy. Her concern and love that poured out when we discovered our son was Autistic. Even just a few short months ago, she was still “with” us enough to continue encouraging me, reassuring me that “he will make it – he will be just fine – I can feel it”. Through all the trials and tribulations of this life, through the sorrow and the joy, it was her voice, her prayers, her counsel that I held to be the most sweet and dear.

Yesterday, I phoned her. I had to hear her voice. She wasn’t there. Another woman was there. A woman who wanted to know if I knew her. If I’d ever been to her house? Did I have children? She informed me she thought she had children – they were around “somewhere”. She was a pleasant woman, sweet in disposition, still wonderfully kind and gentle, but a woman removed from 63 years of memories who wanted to know if I could “please come over and visit because you know, I am here all alone, all the time, and there are people far, and people near – and tell me, dear, are you a far person or near person – but you know, I am alone far, far too much and don’t you think that could make you go crazy, so if you could just come and visit, it would be lovely”. She told me I could phone every day, after I explained to her that I was a 3-day car ride away from her.

After our call ended, she phoned her daughter to tell her that a stranger had called. She was mystified the stranger knew her so well. She wanted to let her daughter know the stranger would be coming over for coffee.

I hate Alzheimer’s.

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