Thursday, June 26, 2008

Remember the Love

On my way to the grocery store, I stop to admire a row of flowering bushes planted around the parking lot. They produce a profusion of pink blossoms with a distinctive scent. These are the same bushes I grew up with – we had a fair-sized hedge of them in the front yard.

It is now one month since my mother passed on and there are regular reminders of her presence in my life. A few weeks ago, all the lilac trees were in bloom and everywhere the breeze carried her favourite fragrance.

My mother was a determined woman with a fierce love for her children and a strong will. What I recall now are not any arguments or misunderstandings in the past but my experience of the last nine years – when she leaned on me more and more as her body and cognitive functioning succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease.

To her credit she never once complained about not being able to walk, dress herself or do any of the countless things which autonomous people take for granted. She was always glad to see me and recognized me until her last dying breath. Even a disease as thoroughly debilitating as Alzheimer’s could not rob her of this. She would not allow it.

Towards the end, most of her words came out garbled or not at all. But five days before she died she turned to me as I was leaving the nursing home and clearly said, “Thank you very much.”

Maybe one day I will forget the many challenges I encountered as I tried to keep her safe and healthy. What I will always remember is the love.