I stopped by her senior cottage almost arriving to her room, to see if she was ready to go to a Mother’s Celebration yesterday there at the Assisted Living. The staff said she had already pushed herself in the wheel chair over to another building and might be either sitting out in the courtyard or may have gone inside. I couldn’t find her anywhere. I went back to her room and there she was, so fragile, so pale, but a smile formed on her light lips. I asked her if I could help her put on a little dab of rosy lipstick and she said she didn’t have any. I opened the mirrored shelf in the bathroom and lifted the 3 lipsticks and picked out the lightest color and took it to her. She put on a smidgen and rubbed her lips together. We were ready to go now to see what was planned for the residents from about 55 -95. They were providing a flower to plant in large pots in the courtyard for mothers. Only a few showed up, and a dripping plant was quickly plopped from her hand to my hand as my mother began to become anxious that the sun would cause her to have a stroke. I planted it for her in the pot closest to her own building and we went inside to cool down. We shared some fruit punch and I calmed her. Two nights ago she had fallen from her bed to the floor trying to transfer to go to the bathroom in the dark. She now seems to think people are just waiting around for her to die . I told her I hadn’t heard anything like that and passed it off as a joke. She is 95 1/2, although she can’t remember her last birthday party in December or how old she is on most days. She doesn’t have Alzheimer s, just old age dementia and memory loss. It wasn’t that long ago that she handled her own med dosing. It wasn’t that long ago that she was racing with her 3-wheel walker with brakes bounding down and around in circles on the courtyard sidewalk. That was then. Now I look for pictures that we can color or use colored markers, for the woman who used to be an artist, a seamstress, a Sunday School Teacher, a medical secretary, and who used to cut her own lawn. Only a shadow of herself, I long for the woman she was when I was a little girl, that made me special dresses, even a little girl wedding dress, and a twirly skirt with red tomatoes dancing on white polished cotton. She can’t find her nail polish, I find it and place it where she can find it later and loosen the tops for her. The air-conditioner is on and she feels cool. She doesn’t understand why it is on. I tell her it is 85-90 degrees outside. She says, “But it isn’t inside”. She tells me she appreciates me and loves me so much. I remember fights and misunderstandings over the years. I remember she accused me of stealing from her. I comb her waves around her face. She says I am all she needs and that I remember everything. She will not be here much longer. But today she is. And what she said to me, was all I needed to hear. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama, Blanche, I love you, too.