“Don’t step on a crack,” she said.
“Why not,” I asked.
“Because you will break your mother’s back,” she said.
I turned to her. “But you’re my mom,” I said, and she laughed.
When mom could still speak, we recited this monologue every day. I miss it.
When she was first diagnosed, it seemed unreal. She knew the names and birthdays of her children and could hold a conversation. In fact, until that day at the doctor’s office when we got the news, she was still driving.
It wasn’t until a few months after her diagnosis that I understood the reality of her disease. It was the Fourth of July. I was talking to friends at a picnic, and mom walked over and introduced herself. At first I thought she was joking, but I soon realized she did not know who they were.
These are my closest friends. Growing up, they spent a lot of time at my house and even participated in family activities and outings. She thought of them as her own. They called her mom.
The doctor told me that she would have good days and bad days. He did not tell me that I, too, would have good days and bad days. I grieved when she no longer knew my friends and again when she could no longer form sentences. I continue to grieve each time her illness reaches a new stage, and I see her decline.
This Saturday is mom’s birthday. She will turn 68. Even though she does not remember as much as she once did, she always has a smile on her face. That smile comes from her love of God who shines through her and reflects on everyone she meets.