BECAUSE I LOVE YOU
The first words from my mom after we said our good morning hellos was "when are you coming to see me"? Mom, (I fibbed) in a couple of weeks". "Great, and who are you coming with"? "My husband", I replied. "You're married"? "Yes mom, I've been married for thirty years". "I can't believe your married, you look so young. You look like a baby".
As I smiled to myself, and felt the love from my mom, I flashed on when I was a little girl, which was many years ago. I thought of my mom in her youth and all the things we did together. That was then and this is now.
She then asked where I lived and I answered, New York. Mom was able to have a moment of memory for she answered, "I use to come to visit you a lot in New York". Yes mom, I thought to myself, and you also were also born and raised here. New York was your home.
Mom lived here till she was sixty two years old. She moved right before I became pregnant, with her one and only grandchild. Logan is his name, named after her dad Louis. He will be turning twenty five in several months and today, with all the love she feels for him, and all the special moments they shared, he is just a fading memory in her life.
Last week when I mentioned Logan's name, she said it sounded familiar to her. Her grandson that she so adored, now just a glimpse of a shadow in her "world". I know in my heart that all her love is still there for him, its just that she cannot connect all the pieces. Sometimes when we speak of her grandchild, she thinks that he is still a young child. She will ask why I allow him to do some of the things I share with her. She cannot believe how old he ,what he looks like, or his stature of being six feet tall.
Deciding to lighten the conversation and to have some fun, I asked Ruthie if she'd like to live with me in New York. Mom use to say that she would never leave Florida. This time to my surprise, she said "how would I get there". "Well mom I could come and bring you up". "When"? she asked. "Maybe soon". "Okay let me think about it". Of course this conversation, like so many others quickly faded into the distance, for the next time we would speak, mom would have no memory of it.
Alzheimer's, now that I can see what it has stolen from my mom, her life, her existence still leaves me with the question of, how can this disease just eat away your life, as if it never existed? It is mind boggling to me.
As our phone call came to an end, mom softly whispered to me "please come visit, I have a home you can stay in . Lisa, you know that you can come whenever you want, because I love you".
At that moment this little lady, who is no longer five feet tall, broke my heart. I wanted to pick her up and hold her in my arms and tell her that everything will be okay. Okay? I know that is not the way this illness usually ends. Yet for now, I still can hear mom speak those tender words to me. And for me, at the moment this is all I need. I feel the love, and deeply cherish all that we still have, no matter how little, it may be.