How do you miss someone who is still here?
The answer to that question is Dementia. It is what makes me miss my mom even though I sat with her this very afternoon. Even though we smiled and joked. Even though just today we held hands, hugged and looked at family pictures while snuggling on her love-seat - even still I miss her.
Recently, on my Facebook page, I shared a scenario you might be familiar with. You may have come across the questionnaire that asks: "If you could choose to spend an hour with any person, living or dead, who would that person be?" I used to imagine the historic figures, famous authors or celebrities I would love to share that time with. But not any more. Now, I always wish that imaginary hour or afternoon could be spend with "pre-dementia" Mom! Here's why I would love it:
1. I would love to hear her speak in complete sentences. Mom was such a gifted speaker, communicator and story teller. Whether it was children or adults, she had a way of communicating a message. To lose your very ability to communicate your feelings and observations - that's just crappy!
2. I would love to see her eyes sparkle - I mean REALLY sparkle with recognition when she sees me and my family members. On good days I see it a bit, but as the disease progresses I have to really dig for it. Today she didn't seem to know who I was at first.
3. I would love to be the daughter. It took several years of Mom being sick for me to stop reaching for the phone when I wanted my MOM. Still many times I wish I had her to bounce an idea off of, share a memory, say a prayer with, ask her advise or just make me feel little again. I miss that. :)
4. I would love to play a game of rummy with her.
5. I would love to hear her laugh - REALLY laugh.
6. I would love to hear her sing. Not that she was a fantastic singer - in fact she wasn't really - but still she sang: old hymns of the faith, gospel choruses, children's songs and Bible school tunes. I am forgetting them as I have no one to share them with. Singing now is one way we can connect, but the link is weak. I'd love to hear her sing to me again.
7. I would love to SEE her again - not the Mom who can't remember, the mom who won't let me wipe the pudding stains of her face, the Mom who is thick with medications or the Mom who sometimes hits people and can be unpredictable. I mean the funny, sensitive, discerning, spiritual and loving widow, mother, teacher and friend.
There is some solace I guess in knowing I am blessed to have had a mother who was all these things. I am even blessed to have a mother who still holds my hand and smiles at my stories. For this I am grateful. However, I miss my mom...
Even though she is here.