I once believed that all mothers and daughters were close. This was not necessarily true for mom and me. During my teenage years we had moved to a new town. Wanting to feel accepted by the other girls was important to me . As my"new"friends came over to my home, I felt embarrassed as my mother hung around asking them many questions . My friends though didn't seem to mind, for they kept coming back.
Out of my own insecurities this left me with an uncomfortable feeling towards my mother. I know that we loved one another, just that over time it seemed that our personalities clashed more and more. While living on my own I phoned once a week, just so I wouldn't hear her complain about not hearing from me.
For many years we had our share of ups and downs. When my dad passed away, amazingly enough my mom and I got along fabulously. Then without warning our disagreements re-emerged. Yet immediately after mom became ill, there was a major shift in how I felt toward her. In a strange way I was given a second chance to love her unconditionally.
During these last months since mom entered the nursing home, I found myself filled with many different emotions. I often questioned the quality of her life. This in turn brought up feelings about my own mortality.
As her disease progresses, I have wondered if she really knows who I am. Sometimes I think yes and at other times I am not so sure. Then the other day mom described to my brother's fiancée that her daughter Lisa lived far away in New York City. Mom at that moment had some clarity. Alzheimer's disease bewilders me. How can one's whole world disappear, and then reappear only to last for a minute?
Recently I have felt some contentment. I no longer wish that mom would peacefully go to sleep. I recognize that I am blessed, for I know that I can still feel the tenderness of her touch and hear the sweetness of her voice. What I do not know, is how long this will last.
While visiting, I witnessed mom sharing her kisses with all the nurses. I watched and listened as she told them that she loved them. My family is fortunate that my mother is still filled with love and not frustration and anger like some other's who suffer from this disease.
My mom, who I love so deeply, has opened up my heart in many ways. This everlasting love I feel for her is embedded deep into my soul. Today and always she remains my hero.
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