By Lisa Hirsch
SO SWEET AND TENDER
Since my last visit my mom has been asking me almost everyday when I will be coming to see her. The truth is that I will not be returning for at least three to four months. Yet I do not share these thoughts with her. This time when my mom asked when would I be coming, my answer was within a few weeks. She replied, "what does a few weeks mean"? I quickly answered her by saying I would be visiting in four weeks, although I knew this was not true. She then whispered so sweet and tender, "that's good for four weeks is pretty soon". Ruthie, my mom did like my answer, and I had no fear that she could remember and hold me to this time frame.
Of course there is some sadness that I did not tell her the truth, and even more that we live in different states. How special it would be if I could see her at least once a week as my brother is able to do.
My mom said that she remembered that I was at her home, yet she could not say, when or for how many days I visited. I knew from her caregivers that for the first week she walked around calling my name and looking for me.
We continued our phone call and I had Ruthie spelling from A-Z using countries, cities and states. I started off with Arizona, then Barcelona, Connecticut and onward. When I asked her to spell New York, and when I reached San Francisco, she started to sing the lyrics to "New York, New York" and " I Left My Heart in San Francisco". These songs have become familiar to most of us, like national anthems.
When mom did not understand my pronunciation of some words that I asked her to spell, she sharply told me to speak English. She made me laugh and I did feel joyous for she sounded aware and alert. She was into our spelling game and scored a ninety five for her almost perfection.
If my mom did not have Alzheimer's, and she said what she said to me, I might have felt annoyed. Although now it is quite different. As far as I am concerned, my mom can do no wrong. I just seem to appreciate and cherish every word that comes from her lips.
On this particular day she was as sharp as a tack and filled with much clarity. I once again wondered if it's all the coconut oil that my brother has her caregivers give her each day. He read an article about it and believed it might work, so he immediately bought it for her. At this point I certainly do not mind the things he tries. Some things might be worth trying. No one really knows.
I ended our phone call with telling her how much I loved her and said, "mom I wish that I lived close to you". Ruthie answered, "me too, and who knows maybe one day we will". With a smile and a wish I whispered back to her "mom wouldn't that really be nice".
Her sweetness and tenderness have me miss her so. My mom's strength and courage has inspired me. She has become my hero. My love and appreciation for who she is just amazing. Alzheimer's may have stolen her memory, yet Alzheimer's cannot steal all the love I feel for her.
I also feel the love she has for me, and I am sure that she still can remember how very much I do love her. Tomorrow when I awake, although I will not be able to see her, I will still be able to pick up my phone and hear her sweet and tender words. For this I am quite grateful.