Mama’s Love Pats

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I’m missing Mama’s love pats.

I cuddled up by Mama after she was settled in for her nap today. I sang to her and stroked her hair. I quoted Bible verses and prayed with her. And Mama stared at the ceiling, or closed her eyes.

And I remembered how just a few months ago she’d want to cuddle up to me. And though she didn’t usually like me facing her, if I turned my back to her she’d roll onto her side and curl up close and keep patting my back and tugging at the fabric in my shirt. Her gentle touches were sweet to my soul.

I was looking at some photos the other day and remembered that just a year ago Mama was able to get herself out of her rocking chair and baby step over to the love seat so she could sit by me and put her head on my shoulder. And she’d lick her finger and try to wash my freckles off my arm with her rubbing.

Just a year ago. It seems so impossible now that she doesn’t walk at all.

Now Mama stares at the ceiling a lot. She doesn’t roll on her side to cuddle close. I miss her love pats. Daddy does, too.

Sometimes when I put my arm around her, as we snuggle in bed, she will pat my arm. Soft little taps that speak comfort to my heart. But today she was so still. So quiet.

I feel like we are losing Mama little bit by little bit. It makes me think of waves rolling in on the beach. Sometimes a wave reaches farther inland than you expect and you’re surprised by a wet splash. And sometimes the waves seem to hold back and draw a more distant boundary for themselves.

Mama surprises us sometimes with the clear words she says. And other days we see that she’s declined more. And sadly, and so gradually, she is leaving us. She is shrinking away, like a shoreline pulling back and drying up in a drought. And we miss the waves splashing our toes.

And I miss Mama’s love pats.

But I’m thankful I can still give Mama love pats. And I can know that as I show love to others, the love and care she raised me with is being shared with others. And so her faithfulness has left a legacy that lives on in her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.

And I’m especially grateful for the truth that Mama loved and trusted Jesus when her mind was strong. And so I know that she will be restored to beyond perfect health for eternity.

And I will feel her tender love pats again.



  1. This is a very touching post. Just yesterday as I was driving the 6 minutes to the memory care home my mom is in, I was thinking how lucky I am and thanking God to still have her no matter what stage she is in. Mom is not as severe as yours is (stage 6c of the F.A.S.T. Scale) but I know we will be there some day soon. You are right, there are little things she does that let us see her personality coming through. She will be 90 next week!

  2. I am so grateful that someone shared your blog with me. My Mom passed away at 102 last week. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 6 years ago and your blogs about the experiences with your Mom helped me when I had the same experience with my Mom. We moved my Mom to a care home in July and she no longer could do anything for herself … but I could still sit by her and pat her arm or hand. Thank you for your writings!

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Martha. 102– wow! Your mom has seen a lot of life and history hasn’t she? It blesses me to hear that my writings have been meaningful to you. Thank you so much for telling me. May God comfort you and hold you in His grace at this time. ~Cheryl

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