ROLLER COASTER RIDE
Last week was my birthday which mom had no idea of the month or day that I was born . She had no memory of giving birth to me, naming me or holding me for the very first time. She does not remember watching me grow from a child into an adult.
I feel fortunate that I can except all of this without feeling upset. For my Birthday celebration this week I decided to have mom sing me each day the Happy Birthday song. When she arrived at "happy birthday dear ....."she blanked on my name, yet quickly replaced it with calling me "her friend", her "sweet relative" or even" her mother." I knew that I was in good company for all these people she loved.
Since I live far away, I do not get to see her that often. My brother who visits her each week told me that she is now addressing him as her friend. She knows his name, yet usually does not remember that he is her son. Sometimes when I call she is confused thinking that she just spoke to me, when in reality she just hung up with my brother.
When I fear that she is getting worse, she somehow bounces back as if Alzheimer's is not winning. At moments there is clarity about what she is saying. Then there are the other times when she makes no sense. On these days I can hear how disconnected she is from the world.
When I do hear words flow from her they are very meaningful to me. Mom being able to speak is something I never take for granted. When she insists that she does not want to spell anymore, I respect her request and just move on. I certainly do not want to frustrate her and love that she still has the ability to spell.
She makes me smile when she tells me that I should keep in touch. "Mom I call you everyday." Her quick response is that her caregivers must have forgotten to tell her. After she questions where I live and I ask her where she lives, her answer is,"I live here." She has her moments of being able to answer spontaneously. She also has a knack to be able to cover up the answers that she cannot complete.
When mom calls me her friend, her relative ,or her mother I still smile, yet when I hear that she is just lying in a chair stearing at the ceiling, I become saddened and wonder what kind of existence does she now have.
Her illness at times has me feel like I am on a roller coaster. As she goes up and down with each elevation my heart goes along for the ride. There are the times that I stay with her and enjoy the ride, and then there are the dips that I just want to get off as quickly as I can.
Life is not always how we want it to be, yet not one day goes by that I do not feel how special it is, that I still have my mom.