When I was younger I never could have imagined that such simple moments with my own mother could ever so deeply thrill my soul. But I relive it now, as I read the memory, and feel the delight again of this day five years ago. And I smile through misty eyes…
March 27, 2014
Oh, I am rich with tender joys today! After Mom’s bath (which wasn’t the joyful part) I sat on the love seat with Mom. She cuddled up close to me and smoothed her hand up and down my arm. Then she said, with no prompting, “I love you.”
I was so touched. And then I dared to ask, “Do you know who I am?”
And she answered, “You’re Cheryl.”
I didn’t know if I’d ever hear those words again. But she said, “You’re Cheryl” with no hesitation or pause. And right after she’d said that she loved me! I felt like throwing a party!
Just a few minutes later though, Mom looked at me again and asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m Cheryl,” I answered, a bit disappointed that she’d already forgotten. But then, her face lit up in a bright smile and she asked, “Cheryl Lynn?” And I was sitting in sunshine surrounded by flowers again!
When Dad came home from grocery shopping Mom looked at him and asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m Raymon,” he answered. “Who are you?”
Mom started laughing and admitted, “I don’t know!”
Oh, what a strange world Alzheimer’s is. Today Mom doesn’t know her own name, but she knew mine for a few seconds. And she knew that Lynn followed Cheryl and that made her smile! And she told me she loved me within a few seconds of remembering my name!
I’m not sure if people who’ve never had a loved one with Alzheimer’s can totally grasp how precious these glimmers of being known and loved are. You just never know when it might be the last time Mom knows your name or recognizes you at all. And any hint that she still does is a cherished mercy from God. A tender moment that you want to shout from the mountain top!!
Today I am rich! Thank you for rejoicing with me!
With Alzheimer’s, it is so easy to get overwhelmed with what lies -or what we think does- lie ahead. I think one of the biggest lessons and the biggest frustrations of caring for a loved one with dementia was learning to take one day at a time-to treasure each “good” moment as the precious gift that it is. To squeeze every drop of joy out of what you have-without wanting more. Those are the moments that sustain you and hang on to.
What a precious post. I did rejoice with you for that good memory. Only someone who lives with seeing their dear loved one go further and further away into the deep, dark abyss of Alzheimer’s can understand the delight of such a simple thing as having them know who you are or being able to say “I love you.” Only twice have I realized my mom didn’t know who I was and those were dark days. I hold my breath every time I open the door and wait for her smile of recognition and for her to say my name. It’s a simple thing and wouldn’t mean much to others but it helps me to exhale and breathe in the grace and mercy of God for that day.
Thank you for rejoicing with me, Ivy! I understand that whole holding your breath thing! I hope you continue to make sweet memories and breathe in His mercy and grace! He is faithful even when life is hard.