Sunday, May 09, 2021

Mother's Day 2021

This is a different sort of Mother's Day this year in that for the first time in my life, I will not be seeing or speaking to my mother on this day.

Oh, she is still alive.  And I will see her in a week when I head back.  Calling her is...difficult. The phone confuses her now, let alone speaking with someone with whom she has no idea who she is talking to.  It is just easier to speak in person.

As I found out during my last visit from one of her very long time friends (75 years +), she does not really remember that either I or my sister are her children.  We are her own brother and sister.

This is an odd place to be in.

I can physically go and see my mother. I can talk to her. I can recognize her face, the tonal quality of her voice, the facts that she still brings up about people and things that I know.  At the same time, in a meaningful sense, my mother is no longer there.

I cannot bring up things that we did when I was growing up:  She does not recall any vacations that we took.  She does not recall the time when - on a whim - I asked her if I could drive home from the store and she gave me the keys; it was my first time post permit driving and we barely survived.  She likely does not recall any of the activities I did when I was growing up or places we went to church.  And she surely does not recall what I consider my multiplicity of failures over the years.

A lifetime of memories, now a blank field with occasional bright points of recalls, like wildflowers.

This is different than death, as far as I can understand it.  In death, the person is gone - truly gone - with nothing but memories and a gravestone.  Here, the person is here, but the bulk of what made them up as a person to you is gone.

We signed a card and sent it to my sister's (to make sure that it gets there). I am sure she will enjoy it and will thank my sister for it when she brings it (she has not lost her kindly nature).  And hopefully it will sit somewhere in her room, a physical reminder of us even if "us" does not really exist to her anymore.

This, as the hackneyed saying goes, was not the way this was all supposed to work out.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.


  1. I can sympathize. I once took my mother from the care facility to lunch. I ordered for her, cut up her food and we talked about things she remembered. For three hours we talked and when I brought her back to her room she hugged me and said, regretfully that she really wondered why (my name) never came to visit like I did. I have no idea who she thought I was.

    1. CT Ginger, I completely understand. I was forewarned enough by others to not take it personally, but it still does leave a bit of a rough edge.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. I can't imagine, and all I can say is how very sorry I am. It's one of life's mysteries that we will understand when "all things are made new." But in the meantime, it must hurt terribly. In the short time I've been reading your blog, I have picked up you are a family man and you've certainly honored your parents. She might no longer know who you are, but you know who she is. Best wishes to you and your family and this special (but difficult) day.

    1. Thank you Bob. And yes, I am taking some comfort in the fact that we do still remember who she is and can honor her for that, even if she no longer does.

  3. This was my third mother's day without a mother and it still has its tough moments. I cannot imagine having a mother who is here but yet isn't. I do have a grandmother who is starting to slide into the mental abyss, but she isn't the close bond that a mother is. You have my sympathies.


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