Love is Forever

     I was meditating this morning. I cried a couple of times. It was a busy meditation session. Lots happening. The happening that ended in tears was my mom. My mom. Sometimes when I look at her wrinkled, beautiful face I want to cradle her in my arms and never let her go. Life is impermanence; I know that. Every person, flower, tree, bird, ant, river, mountain…all of it, ever changing, moment to moment, day to day, year to year, century to century. I just sat there as the sadness took over. Sometimes wrapping my head and heart around her deteriorating mind, around the mother who very slowly, and irrevocably, is disappearing becomes so difficult.
     Dementia. It’s just what is. I know that. At ninety-six she has lived a good life. A happy life. Mom loved life. She didn’t just live it, she engaged with it. I have watched over the last few years all of those engagements disappear. One by one: socializing with friends, playing bridge, enjoying Scrabble, doing puzzles, going for long walks, driving her car, scooting around town on her motorcycle, cycling, camping, synchronized swimming, crafting pottery, and laundry.
     Yes, even laundry. I can’t even begin to count the times that I would arrive for a cup of tea and a chat to encounter her pinning up a blouse or a pair of shorts or a bed-sheet to the clothesline. She’d be all chipper and smiling as she greeted me, clothes gently flapping around her in the breeze. She loved to breathe in that wonderful outdoors smell when she donned a just cleaned blouse, or rested her head on a freshly washed pillowslip as she drifted off to sleep at night. No more.
     It breaks my heart to arrive for a visit mid afternoon to be greeted by her, still pajama clad, hair disheveled, just sitting, doing nothing, on her living room couch. No more will I sit there as she nips into her closet and pulls out clothing, piece after piece, asking me if this color blouse goes with that color pants or no, wait a minute, how about this sweater instead? Did I like the pink top or the mauve one? Did this pair of pants look better than the other pair?
     I encourage her to get dressed when I visit. It’s nice to see her perk up as she comes out of her bedroom in a sweater or shirt rather than a pajama top. I guess that the clothing thing hasn’t quite gone yet.
     My Mom the go-getter. No more. Ironically, her memory might be gone, but she is still cognizant of the fact that her life is empty. She often tells me that she doesn’t know what she’d do without her television. She does still like to watch documentaries on nature and anything medical. She still knows who we all are, we, her children.
     She loves for me to drop by. She always has a cookie to offer me. My mom the  sweetaholic. That certainly has not changed. She still can make a simple cup of tea. Just. She used to love making her regular orange pekoe tea with a bag of Earl Grey added to the pot. No more will I listen to her emphasize to me how much she loves to add that one bag to the other two. I still remember the day I asked her if she wanted me to reach up for her to snag the box of Earl Grey from a high shelf. She just stood there with this blank look on her face.
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Mom and I enjoying William Wegman’s book on Weimaraner dogs.

I do what I can when I visit to brighten her day, arriving with a couple of our favourite cranberry orange scones to nibble on as we chat, a book of cute pictures of Weimaraner dogs that we ooh and ah and laugh over, a book filled with pictures of the Queen Mother through the years that we enjoy together, and an interested ear to listen to her wartime stories.

     My mom. A war bride who came to Canada in 1945. Married my dad, a Canadian soldier she met during World War 2 when he was stationed in Hove where she lived. Three months. That’s all it took. They met. Three months later they married in England. She came over here towards the end of the war, to be joined soon after by my dad. 73 years ago.
     So that’s my Mom who I love with all my heart. This heart that sometimes feels broken. Like this morning when I cried. I feel as though there is a big empty nothing where my heart should be sometimes. I know what it feels like to be rent in two.
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Mom and I sharing the love at Christmas 2017

Please don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t try to change a thing. What is, is. Life unfolding just as it’s meant to be. But you know what? I am grateful. I have been given the greatest of gifts. When I give her a hug and a peck on the cheek as I prepare to leave after a visit, I can hear the love in her response, see it in the warmth of her eyes, and in her words to be careful that I don’t slip on that icy patch on the sidewalk beside the house. And, as I mentioned before, she still knows who I am. I’m not going to look ahead on that one. Why worry about what hasn’t happened yet? Conjecture isn’t helpful here. That’s a trap I don’t want to enter. I am also not going to get caught up in the mom who no longer is. What’s the point of that? How do I feel when I keep going over, again and again, how my mom used to be? Nope. Definitely not helpful.

Love. Love is now. Love is forever.
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7 comments on “Love is Forever
  1. lexiconlover says:

    So poignant, such truth, beautiful…. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SoundFlyer says:

    Well said, where a belief in some kind of purpose, whatever it may be, is essential. Over a period of eight or so years, my sister and I visited another sister and watched the decline through dementia. We saw the person who was the most vivacious of teenagers become a set of basic instincts. The saving grace is that she still looks you in the eye and smiles and laughs. Now I visit both sisters and remember not only what’s gone but what lives on. Inspiring post, thank you and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 5amt3n says:

      Thank you. My heart goes out to you and your sisters. I really appreciate your comments. I think that they actually help as I travel this path. As you know only too well, this journey is not an easy one. Reading your words remind me of a friend who watched her father’s memory decline dramatically over many years. She recently commented to me: “My experience was once my Dad got past the point of knowing he was forgetful and losing his memory, as tough as it was on me- I knew he wasn’t struggling mentally with himself anymore.” She also commented that “…we laughed like old poker buddies when he didn’t know who I was.” Both your words and her latter ones are a reminder for me of what I alluded to in my post, to try and stay present with what is right now. Both of you, present with what is/was in front of you, are/were able to enjoy what is/was. I love your comment that you”…remember not only what’s gone but what lives on.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • SoundFlyer says:

        Many thanks, this is a massive subject due to increase astronomically. Your blog shows the positive attitudes that are often lacking. More power to your elbow, thanks again and best of luck. x
        Stephen

        Liked by 1 person

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