Tomorrow will be only the second time in the last thirty years that I will actually be with my mom on Mother’s Day. Last July she moved back to Minnesota after living in Washington state for over fifty years. Her dementia had progressed to the point where she could not live alone in her house in Bremerton. She now lives in a memory care unit in Woodbury, near Resurrection Lutheran.
It is easy for me to focus on the losses her dementia present. Every time I take her out of her apartment for even a few hours, she becomes anxious, wondering when she will go back to her house in Bremerton. She will frequently comment that she is so confused, unable to remember the lunch she ate fifteen minutes ago. “I am a hopeless case.”
But joy still breaks through. She smiles whenever she sees a photography of her grandchildren, especially her newest (and only) great-grandchild. She proudly exclaims, “You know what his name is? Troy VINCENT!” (Vincent was the name of my father, who died in 1995.) She also remembers that I am at a new church, Resurrection Lutheran, and that my son’s fiancé is named Maggie. Deeper emotions seem to make for deeper, more lasting memories.
Her dementia has cause some moments of humor. I had to take her out to sign some papers a month ago. At the lawyer’s office, she had to sign and date several documents. Each time she dated the document, April 7, she turned to me and with a big smile said, “That’s your birthday, isn’t it? Happy Birthday!” She must have dated six document that morning and each time she wished me Happy Birthday, as if it were the first time. The lawyer got rather tired of it, but I beamed each time she said it. I flashed back to all the special birthday cakes and parties she gave me as a child.
I don’t know how many birthdays or Mother’s Days I will share with my mom. Each will be a gift from God. May your Mother’s Day be filled with joy, hope and loving memories.
Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching. Proverbs 1:8