We started planning a week ago. We were going to take my mom out for dinner for Mother's day. I told her last week, and she was very excited. She lives in a nursing home now. Her memory isn't what it used to be. When we arrived at the home to take her to dinner, her face lit up with a light I hadn't seen in a long time. She was very excited. “What a surprise,” she said. She didn't remember that we had made plans. She didn't remember that we were coming. She didn't remember being excited the first time, when I told her we would be coming to take her out. She didn't remember that both my brothers were coming either. So when they arrived, she got very excited again.
For her, because of her memory, these situations are like having Christmas, forgetting it happened, and having it all over again. Beyond the pain of watching the sharpness of my mom's mind fade, and the dark times when she looses track of the basic things like how she gets to the grocery store, there is a lesson for me. Seeing every experience with new eyes, untarnished by expectations or regrets is something I can strive for. I can remember I am going out to dinner, but let go of the idea that I have any idea what is going to happen. Letting go of expectations and the idea that my memory is here to guide me, or keep me safe is a way for me to be more present in all the moments of my life. It may also ease my pain as, like my mother, my own sharpness start to fade.