I’ve been thinking a lot about my Mom.
There have been some difficult events in my family of late and I can’t help but think about her during those times and wish that she were still around to soothe us in that calming way of hers.
My Mom died in 1999 when I was 29 years old. She became afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease in her early 60s and lived with that awful malady for about 10 years. So the reality is that I actually lost her when I was 19. If you know anything about Alzheimer’s then you know that once your loved one is gripped by that disease’s strong hand, they are never truly themselves again.
I’ve always kept a strong hold of her spirit in my heart and I will never forget the kind of mother she was. I try on a daily basis to emulate her calm ways in all my mothering. But the scary truth is that sometimes it feels like the little memories of her are starting to slip away from me. The more I try to hold on to what her laugh sounded like, the more I feel it disintegrating beneath my fingers. I just wish I had one more moment with her. I wish I could sit down with her again and just really get to know her as a woman. I was never able to have an adult relationship with her and I feel the loss of that immensely in my life.
Did she look at her children exactly the way I look at mine? Was she trying to memorize every line of our little faces knowing that the years slip away all too quickly? Did she have hopes and dreams for me that she never was able to share with me? Can she see me now? Would she approve of the kind of mother I am? I wonder.
There’s no one in the world who will ever love me like my mother did. I sometimes see her in my older sister’s faces. Her spirit comes to me through them but I can’t help but still long for her. Just her. For the days when I could go into her house and lay my head on her lap and cry. She would tell me that everything would be okay and for that moment, I knew that she was right.
After you lose a loved one, you remember tiny experiences that you had with them, that maybe at the time were totally insignificant. It can sometimes be those very experiences that you end up cherishing the most.
One such experience for me was when I was about 15 years old. Every Saturday morning we could not leave the house until it was cleaned from top to bottom. That was the mandatory ritual my Mom had set up. I, of course, being the lazy teenager that I was, would piddle around pretending to clean all morning trying to frustrate my Mom so that she would just take over. Didn’t usually work.
So on this one Saturday morning, I was supposed to be dusting all the furniture in the house but what I was really doing was watching MTV and pretending to dust. My Mom kept yelling at me from the other room to hurry up and finish “The quicker you do it, the quicker it’s done” she would yell. I kept ignoring her.
I was standing in front of the TV, dust rag and Lemon Pledge in my hand watching the video for Starship’s “We Built This City”, when finally my Mom burst into the den with me. I glanced over at her expecting to be scolded for the 20th time. But here’s what she did: she burst out singing and dancing. “We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll…..” She looked so comical and ridiculous in her apron dancing around singing a song she had never even heard before and I was instantly infected with her energy. We danced and sang that song at the top of our lungs, laughing like lunatics.
It’s such a stupid song but to this day when I hear it, it makes me cry.
Those are the golden moments. The things that will never slip through my fingers. That’s the kind of mother I want to be. Her spirit dwells inside of me. And sometimes I just need to call on it.