Where does the time fly? It seems like yesterday you were helping me tie my shoes and comb my hair for the first day of school. I remember how you took my hand and walked with me to meet my new teacher. Your hand was big and strong around mine, but I was still so scared that I started to cry. Suddenly your arms lifted me in the air and your lips fluttered against my cheek. It was like a magic fairy wand that made my tears evaporate as you gently whispered, “it will be OK.” As your arms encircled me I remember thinking that I had the best Mom in the whole world. The truth is that I still think that!
But I’ve noticed lately that things are beginning to change. Now I help you put your shoes on and it is my fingers that set and comb your hair each week. Today your hands are small and finely boned compared to mine and now it is you who takes my hand to get from place to place. When did things change? When did our roles become rearranged?
It’s not that I mind helping you. In fact, I treasure the opportunities to hold your hand, but what scares me is that you are getting more mixed up. Yesterday, you didn’t even remember my name? The Doctor’s say that you have Alzheimer’s disease and just the sound of it makes me want to cry. It’s so unfair! It’s so unjust! The memories that we’ve made should be ours to share for all time.
Last night as I watched my son, your grandson, fall asleep I realized that you will never truly know him. You will enjoy him, but there will come a time when you will not be able to call him by name. I suppose, someday, even your motherly advice will cease simply because you will not remember giving birth and raising five wonderful children. How scared you must be to be living in a world where faces have no name and memories fade.
As this disease overtakes you I look back over these wonderful years and it saddens me to see how much time we have wasted on trivial things. I wish I had taken the time to listen to your words, your wisdom and your laughter. I wish I had made the effort to treasure all of the things that you did for me and my children. I wish that I had gone back to the “good old days” with you for even just a little while.
I wish that I could gather you in my arms kiss your forehead and magically make everything OK; but I am not that powerful. What I can do is treasure you now and what you can do today. I can spend time with you holding your hand, setting your hair and going back to those “good old days” with you.
Most importantly, I can always remember that you are still the best Mom in the whole world!