For Love of the Game

My mother and I walked down the halls of the assisted living home. She turns to me and mustered up the words any five year old would, “What time is your mom coming to get you?”.

For years, I battled the repeated questions, the inane memories I couldn’t relate to, the randomness of our conversations. That day, I had finally decided to play along… for my mother.

“I don’t know,” I asked. “What time is YOUR mom coming?!” My grandmother had died 30 years previously.

“In a few hours.” She candidly replied.

“Well, can I hang out with you until then?” I asked, playing the game. It’s a game, I told myself and this is what we do for love.

“YES! I would love that!” And she was off again in her own world as we continued down the hall.

My story isn’t very different than yours. What is unique is that my mother was 60 and I was an only child and a mere 27 at the time. There is no greater love than between mother and daughter. And it was love that taught me to play the game. Why not a be a childhood playmate from yesteryear? The roles we take on evolve everyday as caretakers, many unexpected. This was just one of those days.

This is no longer our grandparents disease. It has no age limits.

When I started playing the game, my world changed. This lonely disease did not become much easier … but when I understood that my mother was now a child in this big world, the way I dealt with the disease changed. Love encompasses us in those moments and we let go of the world we once knew … and find a new world in which we play, for love of the game and our loved ones.

Shana Gibbs

Jul 26, 2010