My mom was a Navy wife, career nurse and taught nursing. Mom of 2, grandma of 5, and from a family of 10. Truly loved by all. Smart as a whip and had the best sense of humor. This is how I remembered her after she died-loved her so much-her struggle with Alzheimer’s didn’t ‘break’ my love or relationship with her (although I was the only one in the immediate family she didn’t remember).
Alzheimer’s took away Mom’s ability to remember who I was and how she knew me, but it couldn’t take away all the little pieces of her memory that allowed her to know that I was part of her life… when Mom thought I was one of her high school or college friends, I learned all about her adventures as a young adult that she would never share as a mom to her daughter …other times she would talk to me as though I was one of her amazing sisters & sisters in law & now I know ALL the dirt on them…(beware Aunt Barbara/Sally/Kay/Millie/Sue/MaryJo/Jan/Teresa/Renie!)
We also had discussions where she thought I was one of her nursing students or a fellow Navy wife whose husband was out to sea with Dad–hmmm…should I be concerned that Mom never thought I was one of her church friends? 🙂
I was lucky to know enough about Mom’s life that I could hold conversations with her and encouraged her to tell me more-It was an unexpected glimmer of light that allowed us to communicate without forcing a memory she couldn’t find at the time…
There were the golden moments where Mom did know me as her daughter…sometimes it was triggered by where we were at the time (surprisingly this often occurred while we were shopping:)…the most entertaining ‘you are my daughter Barbara’ moments occurred when we were out and about and with a crowd of people…without any prompt, Mom would remember I was single/not re-married and immediately take on the mission to change this status–she would do a quick visual scan of the crowd and zero in on any men that appeared to be plus/minus 15 yrs. my age…(keep in mind this all took place in a 10 second timeframe which didn’t give me any time to counter react-)…once she identified the “target”, Mom would grab my hand and introduce me as a “sweet single young lady” (emphasis single:) … I would just quietly tell them that Mom had me confused with my (non-existent) younger sister… (Who needs Match.com when you have Mom.com? THE only dating site you never have a choice to join 🙂 …If Mom had this same ‘aha Barb is single’ memory when I wasn’t with her, she still found potential suitors & showed them a glamour photo of me she carried in her purse (never mind the picture was taken when I was 20!)–one of these things is not like the other:):)–thankfully Mom did not remember my phone number so everyone got a clean get-away 🙂
Happily, Mom rarely forgot who her 5 grandchildren were and most importantly, she NEVER forgot Dad…theirs is an unrivaled love story that gives Disney & Nicholas Sparks a run for their money…
I am so lucky to have the most amazing mom ever who ALWAYS makes me smile except if I find out she is still trying to be my matchmaker from above…..let it go Mom—the “I can’t remember card” doesn’t work anymore 🙂
I love you Mom!