Sunday, May 8, 2011

ALWAYS REMEMBER - a letter to my Mom

Dear Mom,
We were all in denial about what was happening to you. You started repeating things a lot, and became increasingly disoriented. I remember walking along the water in La Jolla when you still lived there, it was the first time I noticed a vacant look in your eyes. Now that I look back, this was when I probably realized something was wrong. I put both my hands on your shoulders, as if to wake you and said, “Mom! Mom!!” so we could laugh it away. You mirrored me with a vague giggle, but said, “I’m tired Honey, let’s go home.”

It took Kath, Mike’s wife, to say we should bring you in for testing. We resented her for bringing it up, nothing was wrong with our Mom, you were going to the gym twice a week, delivering meals to people with AIDS, going to dinner with friends. But on our visit, you said we were going to meet your friend, Belle, at that big burger and nacho restaurant with the Surfboard logo and Belle never showed up. I said we should call her but you waved it off and ordered enough food for an army and finished it off, and then ordered dessert. You used to get an appetizer and say it was way too much food. I was leaving for New York the next morning, you asked me over and over and over again what time my flight was, I tried to wrangle the pullover you’d been wearing for a week straight away from you to throw it in the wash, but you became so stubborn about it so I just let it go. A couple of weeks later Rob said the two of you were taking a drive up to the top of Mount Soledad and you turned to him and asked if you were in California or Connecticut.

After taking you to the doctor, they took away your car keys. Mike packed a bag for you that day and brought you back to Portland with him. It was as if you had your life on Wednesday, and on Thursday you would never have it back again. They found a lovely place for you, and bring the grandkids by on Sundays. You found a boyfriend, who would have thunk it, you’re no Spring chicken, but he’s so handsome, and funny, a retired Marine that looks at you like you’re the most precious treasure in the world.

And you are. Even now, more than ever – you are a great inspiration to me. “I never let things get me down,” you say every day when I call. You never did. You had a crazy mother, she used to drive me insane but you would tell me, “she doesn’t get to me, it all goes in one ear and out the other,” you’d say – matter of factly. Then you’d get back to unpacking the van after coming home from whatever antiques show you were doing that weekend.

I thank God you still remember who we all are, one time I called, you sounded confused, I said, “Mom, this is Claudia.” You snapped, “I know!” As though it was an absurd thought that you wouldn’t know the sound of your own daughter’s voice. But one day this could very well be the case. So I’m telling you now, dear Mother, on today - this Mother’s Day: always remember how very much I love you.


  1. Laura StricklerMay 8, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    This is beautiful, Claudia. Thank you for sharing your history and your mom with us on this wonderful day.

  2. Thank you all... I appreciate you taking the time to listen and comment, writing it was a positive way to process my feelings this Mother's Day, and to honor my Mom.

  3. teared me up some, it comes easier now days, hugs!

  4. Awww, just what I needed, when I needed it the most. :)