This is my mom. She’s 87. She’s great. She’s the one who did all those mom things for me that you don’t really appreciate growing up because you don’t realize someone is doing them for you. After all you never experienced life without someone doing them for you.
Now Mom is on her own. My dad died in June; he was 91 and they had been married 66 years and 7 days when he died. My mom also has a very poor memory. She doesn’t have Alzheimers and she can function just fine at the fantastic assisted living facility she is in. But she just can’t remember the simple things she just did. Like what she just had for lunch, or what she did yesterday. She can’t really read a book anymore because she has not only forgotten about the last chapter, she has forgotten she had started the book.
When I visit her we have a great time. She knows who I am. She remembers my kids and where I live and that I’m starting this new church. She can do crossword puzzles faster than I can read the clues and she beats me in at least every other game of Scrabble.
What she can’t do is remember that I visited. When I go home and call to let her know I made it back safely and she knows how to play along, but I suspect she has already forgotten I was ever there. If I call the next morning she is likely to end the conversation with, “I hope you can come and see me sometime.”
So why visit? I get no credit for it. It has no lasting impact.
So what. She’s my mom. I want to see her. We have a great time. She may ask all the same questions every visit, several times every visit, but she cares about and understands everything I tell her. She gets another chance to love me, and I remember how much I love her. And maybe the brightness of that day makes the next one a little brighter for her, even though she doesn’t know why. But I know. It is the right thing to do.
Life is about doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do, not because of hope of reward or fear of punishment.