Last month was my mother’s birthday. She turned 75.
For the first time in her seventy-five years, our dear mother wasn’t able to eat any birthday cake. She is bedridden, in and out of consciousness on morphine, and dying. There is every reason to expect – and actually, dare I say, hope – that this is the year of her last birthday, and that her painful battle with Alzheimer’s disease will finally be over.
Mom has taken a turn this past week, a turn that plants her squarely in the final stage of this heartbreaking disease. She can no longer swallow even liquid food, so we know the end is near.
I can hardly think of anything or anyone else right now. I dread what lies ahead, even though I said above that I hope this, her last trial, will soon be at its end.
Here is a poem I wrote over twenty five years ago, when my mom and I were much younger women. I made some changes, updating it to reflect the present, but the essential message remains the same. I love you, Mom!
When I needed someone to hug
You were there
Your arms outstretched and waiting, your gentle, warm embrace
Absorbing all my love.
When I felt the pain of problems
You were close by
Your soft, smooth cheek was soothing, your warm familiar bosom
Blotting out the fears.
When we begged a little comfort
From each other, over the years
With a love so unconditional, as one woman to another,
We shared our tears.
When you have reached completion
Of this, your final trial,
I will treasure precious moments, tender memories, my sweet haven
When I needed someone to love,
You were there.