Today she would be 79. Although my mother’s brain was destroyed by Alzheimers years ago, I finally feel a real sense of letting her go, putting her to rest following her struggle with dementia and then a stroke a month ago. I can really grieve now, tell people she has passed, and I can move on. Dementia is so cruel. I lost my mother years ago, the mother I knew, whom I spent hours on the phone with, countless mornings sitting at the dining room table eating cantelope and watching the sun rise as we reviewed our day, the week, family happenings. My mother who doted on my son as a baby, loved growing dahlias, was passionate about horses, studied Buddhism fanatically, and helped everyone she came in contact with. She retreated into a shell of her former self, once her anxiety and fear about the disease subsided as it took its course. She was childlike, generally compliant and content to sit and sort through the same world wildlife federation postcards over and over for months. Gone but sitting there.
Some part of me is finally free to blossom. I am enjoying my children more then ever, have discovered new levels of patience, and appreciation for ages 3 and 7. In spending two weeks at my family home, sorting through oodles of pictures and boxes of memorbilia, I am steeped in my own childhood, the generosity and love my mother bestowed on me, her unconditional love, her faith and belief in me, in my ability to navigate in the world. She modeled patience, curiosity, a spirit of adventure, and an appreciation for all living things.
Happy Birthday Mommy! I am inspired once again by you on this beautiful Fall day, dahlias in full bloom, birds beginning to migrate south!
So readers, take a minute with me, light a candle to celebrate and appreciate your own mother today, whether she is here with you in body or in spirit!