It was a beautiful beach day on our extended vacation in Rhode Island but my dad had an appointment for an emergency root canal in Connecticut, and he didn’t want to drive himself.
So my mom and I found ourselves with an hour to kill in New London, while we waited for Dad.
Mom’s memory is waning. Spending an hour with her now is far different than even just a year ago.
Growing up, hardly a day passed that we didn’t talk on the phone. She was the most understanding mom a kid could ever ask for and there wasn’t anything I couldn’t tell her.
But we don’t talk much anymore. When I share bits of my life with her now, she gets confused. If I tell her about my worries or voice any struggles I’m dealing with, she gets flustered and doesn’t know how to help. She can’t remember. She asks questions that don’t make sense, and then she asks them again.
But last week we had an hour together just she and I. It was a beautiful day and we went for a walk and found a fort with an amazing view. We didn’t talk much beyond where we were going and what we were doing. We just enjoyed the time.
While we were walking, I tried to remember what it was like when she still remembered. I thought back to the time when she was the one who reassured me, instead of me being the one to reassure her. I tried to remember what it was like before her memory started to fade, and what it might be like now if it wasn’t happening.
I miss my mom. She’s still here, but she can’t be a mom. She doesn’t remember how, and it makes me sad.
But on that day in New London, I was glad to have time with her. To joke with her, laugh with her and share with her, even if she didn’t understand everything we were talking about.
She’s still here and we can still share time together. And I’m trying to be thankful for that.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 13, Lilly, 11, Adam, 11, and Jonah, 7.