Full Circle…living in the moment.

As I return from a visit with my 86-year-old mother, I want to share a gift I’m receiving through her. Mom’s full, rich and wondrous life is winding down, and she is taking all her memories with her. Her incrementally progressive exit from this world over the past 10 years, with Alzheimer’s as her dark escort, has been a difficult process to witness. Yet the silver lining is the absolute reinforcement of the wisdom of living in the moment. For now, near the end of her story, the moment is all she has. And she is still so graceful and often quite witty in those moments!

When I acknowledge that this is the richness of her life today, this staccato of moments during which she is present, I can shift my interpretation of her situation. I don’t buy into the idea that it’s silly to take her here or there because she won’t remember it. That no longer matters. While it’s not about building memories with her anymore, it is about getting out, being stimulated, continuing to live in the world while she can. Because that enriches her body, mind and spirit, regardless of whether she is aware of it or not. What an honor to reciprocate the nurture and care this wonderful woman gave me.

I don’t remember my days as an infant, but I know they had a profound effect on me, imprinting many of my deepest values. Mom rediscovered the world when she introduced her children to it. I did the same through daily outings with my babies. The first impressions on their brains were the sunshine through the trees, smiling faces, big furry animals with soft pink tongues, birdsong, snowflakes landing on their nose, sitting in sand or grass – and yes eating it too. What they took in on our daily explorations helped form who they are. Even though they don’t remember it, it is there, solid and real within them.

I know that Mom loves to watch the birds at her feeder, trace the clouds’ journey across the sky, see snowflakes dance, and feel the warm sun on her face…because when I stop doing and am fully present with her, I love rediscovering these treasures together, just as she did with me, and I did with my children. That full circle of living in the moment and allowing the ‘isness’ of creation to be a part of my being is a gift from Mom that I will cherish forever.

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