I woke up at 5 am today. Couldn’t go back to sleep. Couldn’t stop thinking about my mother. I went to see her yesterday. She’s in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and now has brain cancer. She tries to talk, but it comes out as gibberish. Every minute or so, you might pick out a word or two, but mostly, it’s just sounds, staccato and broken. She tried to say things to me, and at one point, I just smiled at her and she did say the word pretty. I think. She touched my cheek over and over and caressed my hair. The next minute, she was literally trying to pull my dress off of me by the sleeve. She was fascinated by the pattern on it, I suppose. I tried not to cry, but seeing her this way, looking into her eyes and wanting more than anything in the world to hear her voice speak to me and tell me it would all be ok, and knowing it was forever gone…I couldn’t stop the tears. I didn’t want to upset her, but she touched both of my eyes and tried to tell me something. For a brief moment. Then she slipped away again. I feel as if I lost her a long time ago. Even though I know it’s not possible, every time I slip into her room and sit by her bed, I hope if I could just look deep enough into her eyes, she would be there, waiting for me, with her sweet smile and laughter. I want to be able to reach inside with my soul to find hers, because how can she forget me? All the memories, the laughter, the long conversations, the lifetime of her being my mother, and me being her daughter? She raised up off the bed and kept stroking my hair, saying something. She knew what she was saying, but it was unintelligible to me. Still, the touch of her hand on my face and hair moved me so that I gathered her in my arms and held her. She let me, and I cried and cried and told her how much I missed her and loved her. When we pulled apart, she just looked at me as if the rawness of that moment had shocked her too. I smiled, to comfort her, and she beamed at me. I don’t know if a smile has ever hurt me so much. She was the most wonderful mother a child could hope for and I was lucky to have her for a little while. She may not remember me, but I will never ever forget the depth of her love.