I love this picture not because I’m in it and not because my mom and I have been best friends or see eye to eye. I love it because my mom is smiling and giggling. Obviously I am too. I cherish it because my mom and I are opposites, but over the years we have grown to understand and accept each other as we are.
This was a happy day. It was taken last June on my mom’s 88th birthday when we went to lunch, got her a manicure, and later celebrated with a cake with one of her home caregivers. That day was one of the bright moments I will cherish always knowing that at the time, we were muddling through the days with Alzheimer’s.
Last June, it seemed like things were changing slowly but when I reflect back on the last 10 months, really the last 2 to 4 years, so much has changed quickly.
I love the saying “the days are long but the years are short.” This is often referenced when speaking about the time of raising a child. For me, it too describes the time of taking care of my mom during her disease. It is difficult work with unexpected flecks of grace, like this moment on my mom’s birthday, scattered about along the way.
Many days do feel long.
The nights, longer.
The moments when Alzheimer’s takes control of my mother, longer still.
But I am pretty certain that one day I will view these years as a short amount of time, a beautiful collage I could never piece together myself, in the great masterpiece of our lifetime together.
I will remember I loved her through it.
I will remember I held her in it.
I will remember I never walked away.