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My mom is missing. Well, her body is still with us, but the person she was isn’t here anymore.

As some of you know from past posts, my mom has dementia and has been slowly slipping away from us for years. She is now officially a shell of her former self. It is sad. She is in a memory care unit at a nursing home and the last time I saw her she didn’t know who I was.

I was very close to my mom when I was growing up. We were buddies.

Twenty years ago, before I understood what was happening to her brain, her behavior made me start to pull away from her. Her words and actions made it seem like she didn’t care about my family or me. I didn’t yet know she wasn’t able to process information. She lost her ability to empathize, whether it called for celebration or comfort.

Let me give you an example from about ten years ago:

Me: Mom! Guess what! I was promoted and received a nice raise.

Mom: Oh. I see. Did I tell you that Dad and I are going golfing in Monterey?

It hurt. I now know she couldn’t put the meaning of my words together and hid it by changing the subject. But numerous interactions like that damaged my relationship with her.

Mother’s Day is approaching (you are welcome for the reminder to call your mom) and it has me thinking . . .

I learned a lot of things from my mom. I’m not talking about sewing or properly sorting laundry, although she did teach me that kind of stuff as well. I am talking about intangibles like:

Surround yourself with books.

Music is a part of your soul.

If you are going to tell a story, make it interesting.

Stop to admire a rainbow, or for that matter, any form of Mother Nature’s bounty.

Take on an adventure.

Make an ordinary experience an adventure.

A meal with family and/or friends is more than just nourishment.

Set the table and light the candles . . . even if it is over reheated leftovers.

A home is not just where you hang your hat. A home must embrace you with comfort.

Dogs are a must.

Laugh often, even if it is at your own joke.

Why not dance when you clear the table?

Circa 1979.

Circa 1979.

So, my mom may be gone, but she a part of my being. I hope I have passed such things on to my girls. Rather than being sad about my mom’s condition, I try to remember the good times we had when she was whole.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there.