My Mom turned 97 this year and her memory for daily interactions is tenuous. Sometimes when I visit, she asks me five times about something I brought. We write our comings and goings in her guest book as a memory tool. But here’s the thing: when I walk in the door her face lights up. When she speaks of my dad, her voice is full of gratitude even when it holds some grief. When she mentions my sisters or my aunt, she is quick to say how much she appreciates their care. The other day, she told me that she woke during the night and could not go back to sleep, so she decided to count her blessings. She had a long list. Her life has been lived with an emphasis on relationship. She consistently chooses the path of love. Rules are important, but love comes first. If you don’t deeply love, you don’t have the authority to impose a rule. It’s not a Pollyanna view. She has buried two husbands – one when she was 27, one last year. She always believed that it was best to face things head on and to talk about them, truthfully, quietly and with grace. Hers has been a life of determined joyful gratitude. This is not an accident. It is a practiced pattern. So well-practiced, that she doesn’t forget it.
What my mother remembers