My Mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Many of you have either heard of it, or have someone you love suffering from it. It’s a type of age related dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. My Mom is about at stage four of the seven stages. She has good days and bad days, and needs someone with her all the time. This week, for the first time, she didn’t know who I was.
She’s eighty-one, has lived a good life, many people love her dearly, is happy, and physically fit and healthy. I took her to a doctor’s appointment, and then had lunch with her. She smiled as we talked about things in the past. She remembers things that happened years ago pretty well, but she didn’t know who I was. She told me we needed to get home, because her son, Patrick was going to take her somewhere, but she wasn’t sure where.
I wanted to shake her, and say, “Mom, it’s me Patrick. I’m right here! Please remember me.”
I thought of the past, and what a wonderful life I had growing up. I don’t think anyone could have loved me more than my Mom did. As I looked at her, she looked the same. She was still a small, strong woman with an easy smile, and bright, kind eyes. She is still sweet and patient. Those are qualities she needed to raise ten children. In all outwardly ways, she appears to be the Mother I’ve always known. I know in my heart, the Mom I knew is still in there, somewhere; locked inside her mind. I miss her.
If only she could remember me. I’ve been told the disease will progressively worsen over time. Yes, I understand that we all get old. I also understand that life is what it is, and we all have to accept the inevitability of our own mortality. It doesn’t make it any easier. My Mom still has her faith, and believes she will one day be with her husband; my Father. I’m glad.
I decided to write a poem about what’s happening to my Mother. It was very difficult for me, and took a few weeks to complete. I hope, those of you in a similar situation can relate to it. I call it,
Mom, Are You There?
The memories of hugs so tight
A Mother’s love for one so small,
Long days of fun and endless light
A boy becomes a man so tall;
But what was once, is still alive,
For deepest love will always thrive.
The years have moved, they never last
A change has come I sense it well,
Subtle difference from the past
Though, what it is, so hard to tell;
I see the one who brought me life
I feel a pain, the sharpest knife.
Her looks and form are still the same
I stare into her clear blue eyes,
She smiles and asks me for my name
As time stands still, something dies;
I search for things both lost and rare,
My heart asks, momma are you there?
Good memories flood through my mind
I think of what we all have lost,
A mind so good and pure and kind
For passing years exact a cost;
I hold my tears and do not cry,
I know her soul will never die.
I look into her eyes and see
What once was there, and is no more,
The end of all her memories
Just like the closing of a door;
I hope and pray, my soul laid bare,
Oh dearest Mother, please be there.