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Love Your Mother on Her Special Day

Cherish the time you have with her because it can be all too short

If you haven’t hugged your mother today or told her how much you love her, shame, shame on you.

Do it while you have the chance and while she can appreciate your love for her.

Today is her day, Mother’s Day, a special day for her. A day to love your mother, to cherish all the wonderful moments you have spent with her.

I wish I could, I really do.

My mother, who will be 91 on June 8, suffers from extreme Alzheimer’s. I hug her every time I visit her, I tell her how much I love her, I kiss her goodbye when I leave her. Trouble is, I’m not sure she understands any of that.

There are some days when she will tell me she loves me. Some days when she will ask me to hold her. Most days, though, when I ask her who I am or what my name is,  she doesn’t have a clue. She doesn’t even know I am her son.

I miss her love. I miss her smiling face. I miss her active lifestyle. I miss all the things that made me appreciate her love of me, and what a wonderful person she has always been. She was God’s gift to our family.

She was my mother, my best friend, a special person in my life.

I often told my mother things I would never tell anyone else. Not once did she ever betray me and tell someone else.

We shared lunch most days when I worked nights in the newspaper business, and still lived at home. I got up most days to have lunch with her because I knew she was waiting for me. Her day revolved around our lunch together.

My bedroom was on the second floor and when I came down the steps, I found her at the kitchen table, plates and napkins in order, lunch meats at the ready.

“What do you want to drink?” she asked.

She never eat lunch without me those days, and I appreciated her company.

She knew all my hockey-writing friends, all my friends in the local volunteer fire company, and they knew her. If someone called early in the morning, she would never disturb me unless it was an emergency.

When the fire siren blew, she’d holler up the steps to see if I had heard my fire radio. And she would never let anyone park in front of my car.

At lunch, we often chatted about nothing in particular, but we enjoyed each other’s company. I know I did.

Yesterday, I joined her at a Ladies Day Brunch, held at the Arcadia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, where she now resides.

When I got to her room at 9:30 a.m., she was fast asleep in her wheelchair. I could barely get her to open her eyes.

I wheeled her down to the main dining room for the buffet brunch as she dozed on and off. When we found our table, she was still sleeping.

I went through the buffet and got her a dish of some of her favorite foods and fed her, as I always do when I’m there at either lunch or dinner. She seemed to enjoy the seafood salad and fresh fruit the most. She smiled just a bit, then she dozed off again.

I watched her sleep with tears in my eyes. I hate Alzheimer’s and what it has done to my dear mother.

We got her to open her eyes  long enough to take some pictures, then she told me she was cold, as she always is, so I wheeled her back to her room, wrapped her in a favorite blanket and kissed her goodbye. She barely said a word the entire time I was there.

I wanted to hug her one more time but I was afraid I was going to cry.

This isn’t how Mother’s Day should play out.

I try to cope with the situation, but around holidays and special events at the nursing home, when I hope she would be alert and enjoy the festivities, it’s never like that, not since she has been beset with this horrible disease.

When I finally left the building, and got in my car, I sat there and cried.

It hurt so much to see her like this. That’s not the mother I grew up appreciating.  That’s not the mother who loved me, and I loved her.

So on this Mother’s Day, love your mother with all your heart and be thankful your mother is alert, cheerful and enjoying her special day with you.

Make sure you express your feelings to your mother today with a big hug, a big kiss and the words, “I love you mom.” That means so much more than the flowers you bought.

Do it while you still have the chance, and she can understand your love.

I love my mother very, very much.  I always will.

You should, too.

barbara May 08, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Thank you, Don, for a wonderfully moving column. Your Mom is a beautiful lady. This disease is so horrible that there isn't much else to say. Best wishes to you and Mom.

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