Five Minute Friday: Unexpected

Joining Lisa-Jo late this week – been a heckuva a time trying to be available for a number of different needs in our family circle. But I found five minutes today, so I’ll be ‘better late than never’ I guess. The Gypsy Mama invites us to join her each and every Friday to just write and not worry about whether or not it’s just right. So join us, why don’t you?

 Mom, at her 90th birthday party last June. That was a great day and good time for all of us.


I sit in this narrow room, waiting. My mother is in the room next to me, sitting with a neuro-psychologist. They are playing games. Of a sort. At 90, mom’s memory is fading, betraying her more and more often. She is also grieving lots of different losses – my dad, my brother, her own vision.

But this? This is completely unexpected. Our beautiful, gregarious, socially skilled mother is fearful, insecure, unable to remember simple processes she once knew how to do without looking. Of course, she can no longer ‘look.’ That is a big part of the problem.

My remaining brother and I shake our heads in sorrow and puzzlement: how can this be happening to her? She, the vibrant, verbal one in our original circle of five. Mom, the one with the wicked sense of humor, the grace of a dancer, though she never danced in her life, the ability to take simple cut flowers from the garden and create a small oasis in the middle of any table. Where is she?

We still see traces. The doctors we are visiting in these weeks of exploration are struck with how ‘sharp’ she is. They should have seen her 10 years ago! She can still make you smile, put you at ease, tell you stories about her more distant past. She cannot dial the phone, read a calendar, remember what you told her 10 minutes ago.

It is all so completely unexpected. No one else in her family tree has suffered anything like this – and she – she has always been herself. Deliciously, frustratingly, wonderfully, sometimes obnoxiously – herself. Now? We’re not sure.

And we weep inside.


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  1. Oh, Diana, my heart hurts for you. What a hard thing, to watch a memory fade.

    It seems I’m surrounded by women who are losing their moms, in one sense or another. And I’m trying to figure out what I’m called to do for you, and Sandy, and Karin, and all the others whose moms are fading.

    I pray a lot. Because I haven’t found anything else to do.

  2. I could have been reading about my own mother. I can hardly believe the many similarities between your mother and mine. I’ve started writing an essay that I might call, “Mom! Where are you?” Those are the words I was crying out silently a few days ago when I decided I needed to write something. Bless you, Diana, as you love your mother through these days.


  3. You mother looks terrific at 90. I ‘m sure it is so difficult to watch her fade. My own mother is about 14 years younger and I’ve been watching her change from vibrant to dependent. It is difficult. God bless you and your family as you learn to cope with a ‘new’ mom.

  4. This must be such a hard time for you. Hoping you are able to find God’s peace in your weeping.

  5. I understand this, I truly do. I am holding you close in thought and prayer.

  6. Diana, this makes me weep with you.

  7. Diana, I hurt for you. As a daughter who lost her precious Mama not even a year ago, I hurt that you must go through this.

    Mama’s first stroke hit her speech/communication center. It was the oddest thing. Here is my Mama’s body, but the things she is saying are not “her”. The things she knew vs. the things she lost – there was no predicting the strangeness of it. And it was unexpected. For the six weeks we had her after the first stroke (there were more), we had a different Mama than before. And yet we saw glimpses of who we remembered. She and my husband had a beautiful moment that was breathtaking to behold in the week before she was died. I wish I had video of it, but I know that would not have captured the feeling of the Spirit moving there.

    I will admit to be a tiny bit jealous of you. I did not get to keep my Mama until she was 90. She died just two weeks shy of her 78th birthday. I want her back so bad that I have physical reactions to that want. I’m learning though – to not be envious; to appreciate all that I had; to be so glad for Mama being at rest now after how tired she had become. I’m learning to be glad that I have found sisters such as you that I can share the journey with. And that, too, is unexpected, but a blessing.

  8. Thank you for putting down this journey into words…amazing you could get that much clarity in “5 Minute Friday”. My grandma had Alzheimer’s. I watched slip away in my early 20’s. I weep with you too. May you know those walking with you as you journey in the waiting.