By Diane Ako
Life has its ups and downs. I used to navigate it with the help of my mother. I cannot anymore because she has Alzheimer's disease.
Today is my birthday. She doesn't know that. She doesn't know her own age or birth date anymore.
I went to visit her at the care home and decided to just tell her what I've been enduring. Short form, of course, but I wanted to share. I want to think some part of her understood.
We sat down as we usually do and, instead of making small talk because I know she can't really converse, I monologued my problems.
At the end, I looked for comprehension. Nothing.
I continued in vain, "I miss you. I miss when you were well. I miss talking to you."
I went on. "Sometimes I have conversations in my head with you and imagine what you would say to me. I need you."
"What do I do, Mom?" I asked.
"You don't know, huh?" I said sadly.
"No," she replied.
She has never been a great advice-giver but I have always liked knowing she was in my corner. "That's OK," I said. "Just tell me you love me."
"I love you. You know that. Of course I love you," she smiled.
And that will have to be enough.