Mom’s house. Fifty years her dwelling place. At her feet kneeling, sock-footed. Hers, longing to dance. Cold hands held in mine, sandwiched, warmed. Upward gazing, face-to-face, eye-to-eye. Cozily she sits. Lazy Boy reclining chair, an 89-year-old beau’s worst purchase…Love-seat snuggle, replaced. Divided by Lazy Boy, times two…Ah waxing poetic. The most difficult situations seem to lend themselves to such…
Since her mini-stroke with vascular dementia, Mom can’t formulate thoughts or communicate the way she’d like. An intuitive game of charades ensues. I yammer on with stories of times past, hoping to remind her of the rich life she’s lived. Memories forsake her. “I can’t remember any of it.” Eyes well-up in tears. Face drops. I say, “Mom, are you crying because I’m making you too sad?” “No,” she replies. “I’m crying because I love you.”
Oh my achey-brakey heart!!! Sometimes I don’t know if she remembers who I am, but she does remember the closeness of our relationship, our love & attachment to one-another as a widowed mother raising a young daughter, amidst her own depression. I have forgiven my mother for the hard times we’ve had and she can’t recall them anyway. I know she is/was the way she is/was because she didn’t want to be abandoned. That sort of fear, based on young past experience, can often make one swing from angry preemptive strikes to guilt-inducing comments & glares. All any of us want is love and attention. When we don’t get it early on or have that as our solid foundation, life becomes full of approach & retreat, of projection & transference on things & people outside ourselves. I have compassion now where angst once stood. Ultimately, we need to connect to the Source within us to feel that unbreakable bond.
It’s all about right NOW. The experience of dementia in surround, is very Zen. I just see a vulnerable elder & life sadly (& naturally) coming full circle. She’s like my sweet dependent child & all I want to do is my best to help love & protect her. A bond of unconditional love. Torn by tears. My heart, like a severed limb. A phantom, whose subtle imprint haunts me.