I live far away from my parents and I’ll admit, I need to mentally prepare myself to be with them . . . especially my mom when I visit. My mom is not my mom anymore. It’s like a stranger is inhabiting my mother’s body — except my mother’s body doesn’t look like mom anymore either. Alzheimer’s disease has changed my mom both inside and out. She used to care how she looks, and now she doesn’t have the capacity to care. She used to be a familiar harbor, offering motherly comforts, and now she’s the one who needs comforting and reassurance.
But, I’ve been visiting my parents for almost a week now, and one thing is clear — my mom is full of Love.
Mom loves strangers. She actually believes that everyone is an old friend. She talks to most people, and she hugs them and tells them she loves them. She kissed an elderly woman she didn’t know on the lips, and since the woman seemed to enjoy it, I’m pretty sure she had dementia too. It’s interesting to watch. This activity used to bother me, but I’ve learned to relax and I’ve noticed that most people don’t mind. But sometimes I wish I had a card that said “Alzheimer’s — she’s harmless.”
Or, “Alzheimer’s — not afraid to love.”
Mom also loves children. She gets down on their level and tries to make them feel special. Children are usually more receptive to the joy my mom has to give, but the parents – not so much. She high-fived a family of six the other day, and afterward she told me, “I like to do that so they know they have something here.”
My mom loves just about everyone and everything. She loves raisins, the sunshine and the clouds in the sky. She loves animals, pine cones and waking up to a new day. Mom told me once, that when she wakes up in the morning and opens the blinds to let the sun in — she could just cry. She cries lately; but they seem to be tears of joy — like the innocent joy of a new day.
My mom is like a child — a happy child finally free from the worries of the world — who is not afraid to LOVE.