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.