Today would have been my mom’s 94 birthday. I miss her every day. She is gone five years now but truth be told she had post stroke dementia for many years before her death and she was gone before she died. The last time I saw her before her death she didn’t really even know it was me. This terrible phenomenon happens all the time. I call it pre-death. It isn’t a technical term. But with dementia and Alzheimer’s so prevalent these days, many of my friends are experiencing what I did with their aging parents and grandparents. That they no longer can recognize their loved ones and are strangers to them. Parents are gone before they are gone. It is very, very hard to see ones own parent before you but they only see through you. Past you with out acknowledging you. It is hard to describe being ignored by the very people who brought you into this world while they stand or most often sit before you. It is definitely a moment of existential angst exactly as Sartre described.
So even as my Mom, Estelle, or as she was more familiarly called, Essie, would have turned 94 today my memories of her are not the last 10 years or so of her life. But of an earlier Estelle. Of a funny and smart woman who tried to fight her inner sadness all her life. She didn’t have it so easy. But she made the best of things as she could. And I do know that she loved me to the best of her ability. I could use her advice these days. So happy birthday mom. I do miss you!