Since I moved my mom to my house (three hours away from where she used to live), she doesn’t get to see much of her extended family or few remaining friends anymore. My sister Colby gets down when she can, as does my niece Michelle. My cousin Pat has been stellar about visiting whenever he’s in the area on business, and two other cousins – Becky and Ellen – send Mom cards throughout the year. Two old friends from back home – Charles and Rosemary – call every now and then, or write.
Mom maintains she’s very happy with us, but I still think it must get lonely at times, not seeing familiar faces…particularly as those faces begin to fade from her memory. One way to try to keep the memories strong for as long as we can is to keep those faces before her. Photos are great, but it doesn’t beat one-on-one interaction. Some of the family are admittedly nervous about coming to see her. “What if she doesn’t remember me?”
My response to that – gentle as I can deliver it – is that it doesn’t matter whether she remembers them or not. This isn’t about them. It’s about her. And they remember her, so that ought to be enough.
Today was a rare treat when we were visited by my nephew Josh, his wife Nichole, and their daughter Ellery. They haven’t seen Mom in almost 10 months, and if they were nervous, it didn’t show. Ellery was a bit cautious; she really doesn’t know any of us all that well, but it didn’t take her long to warm up. Mom’s delight was obvious and even if she couldn’t remember a lot of things, she carried they day and they helped her along. And watching her with Ellery? Well, that was priceless.