THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US
It's amazing to me that three days before my visit to see my mom, she asked me each time that I called, when would I be coming to visit. I knew in my heart that embedded somewhere in her memory she knew that I was coming to see her. Mom and I for the last two weeks had been counting backwards, till I would be arriving at her home. She sounded vibrant and filled with much aliveness and excitement. Maybe I was imagining all of this, which did not matter, for I could feel it in my heart and soul the same joy, as I awaited for my plane to take off.
My visit to my mom's house several days before Mother's Day left me with different emotions. While I was with her I felt much love, mixed with some pain and frustration. Although on a very upbeat note my mom was doing wonderful. At moments when she refused to brush her teeth or get dressed, I had to remind myself that her yelling at me, that she was not a child, was frustrating to both of us. I laughed, I cried and the love I felt towards her touched me deeply.
I witnessed her as she danced and shared the same story over and over again with my dear friend Alana, who came to visit us. Mom was especially vibrant and Alana described her as " both beautiful and spunky," this being the first time they met.
The following morning when my mom awoke I was lying on the floor while I did my daily excercises. The day before my mom assisted me as I had her count to one hundred, as I performed a pilates movement. Mom with much enthusiam that morning, was so excited to see me and immediately joined me and started to count to one hundred. As I layed on the towel, she then said, "seeing your face and having you here is both very comforting to me". I melted as she spoke those words. As I stood up to continue my routine she then asked "who is your mother"? With amazement I looked at her and said "mom, you are my mother and I love you deeply". Mom replied, "I love you also". I then asked her my name, and after her calling me Lisa for two days, at least a thousand times she said" it's on the tip of my tongue, although at this second I cannot remember it". Mom, I said "my name is Lisa".
After my return to New York, I shared with my husband that my mom was filled with moments where she was so lucid, and then there were the other moments that seemed to come and go. Yet I felt quite grateful on how well she seemed to be doing. I guess I got lucky this trip because there have been other visits where my mom's Alzheimer's seemed to take control.
The next morning my mom sounded so excited to hear from me and I shared that I missed her counting for me as I exercised. Mom replied, "it's funny how you get use to doing something". "I guess so mom, although I really do miss you". As our phone call came to an end, my mom did ask "when will I see you"? I think to myself that I just left, yet I answer with "I'll see you in a couple of weeks". Mom then utters the words, "that's great because you know that I love seeing you".
As of this moment it is not the fact that my mom has Alzheimer's that upsets me, it's that I live so far away and do not have the opportunity to go and see her each day. Could it be that I miss her so much because today is Mother's Day? No, I know the answer to that. It is the fact that whatever day or time, the distance between us still remains the same.