Published on August 17th, 20150
A letter to a mother who doesn’t remember
Author and blogger Lisa Hirsch writes with love and gratitude to a mother who changed her world after developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Mom, as I sit down to write my letter I wonder how I can possibly start to share all my feelings with you. So much has changed since you developed Alzheimer’s 10 years ago. As I gather my thoughts I realise that you will not be able to comprehend most of what I say.
As a teenager I loved you, yet somehow I wanted one of my friend’s mothers to be my mother. Then, after you became ill I fell so deeply in love with you. An unconditional love was born and since then you have inspired me each and every day.
I’m not really sure why my sentiments changed so drastically, I just know that I was given a second chance to feel a deep love and appreciation for you. As I reflect back through these years you have inspired me and have become my hero.
Your humor, your smiles, your sweetness have melted my heart. In several months you will be turning 90 years “young”. You can still be feisty and, as you run around in your Merry Walker, I wonder what you could possibly be thinking. Of course I could ask you, yet as silly as that might seem you would not be able to remember anything.
Before entering the nursing home this past August I spoke to you every single day. We ended each call throwing each other our kisses. I have continued to phone the nursing home every day only wanting to hear how you are doing. On occasion I get lucky and am able to hear your sweet voice.
Most of the time you say ‘hello’, and after a minute you just drop the phone. You do not even realize that I called or recognize the sound of my voice. Recently I was able to catch you when you were having a minute of clarity. You sounded free of Alzheimer’s as you shared that you missed me. These words immediately melted my heart. After hanging up the phone I knew that this was a magical moment, an occasion for me to treasure.
Mom, I am also a mother. My son, your only grandchild, is 26 years old. You adored him and yet today you no longer remember who he is. There have been times that you think you have seven children and days when you think you have none. As a mother I cannot envision that one day I might also not know that I have a child.
I find it hard to believe that a disease like this can wipe away your whole world as if it never existed, leaving your mind a blank canvas. Daddy passed away almost twenty years ago and I do not believe that you have much recollection of him. I’m actually happy that he is no longer alive. I cannot imagine the pain he would have endured watching you fade away.
Today, in your world, I would have to help you brush your teeth, comb your hair, eat your food and get dressed. As a child you once did all of this for me, as well as comforting me when I was sick, or perhaps feeling a little blue. Yet with everything that has changed, at least I know that we still have each other to share our love.
What has changed is that our roles have reversed. Now it is my turn to care for you as you once cared for me. The truth is, mom, that no matter whatever you can or cannot do, I am still your daughter and you will always be my mother.
Life is strange; for out of you becoming ill I have discovered a whole new world. I was given a second chance to love you unconditionally. You have opened my heart to such a deep compassionate love. Mom as I end my letter, I just want to share with you, how very much I adore you. I feel honored and I am so proud that you are my mother.
Your one and only daughter,
Lisa Hirsch is a popular blogger and the author of My Mom My Hero. You can find more of her writings at http://mommyhero.blogspot.com.
‘Grey Space’ is a weekly column on senior citizen issues. If you have an anecdote or leagl information, or anything you feel is useful to senior citizens, caregives and the society at large, feel free to get it published in this space. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Themetrognome.in and we will publish your account.