I just talked to my mother, she says in her soft voice. I’m at a spiritual retreat in New Mexico, and its leader is speaking. She has dementia, she continues, and she talks about our mothers being our first witnesses…..for we are working on developing a witness self within, and I start crying. My mother has Alzheimer’s. Before it began, she was beautiful, engaging, friendly, smart. She is still beautiful, still friendly. But over the last five years, I have watched too much of her depart: the woman who loved to shop; the woman who could take apart a car motor; the woman who could kill a snake; the woman who loved chocolate; the woman who was vain; the woman who was always generous with money—the first woman I knew. My Mama. She was a reflection of me. She was my earliest frame of self, and now I watch that frame splinter into fragments very slowly.
When I am through weeping at what is, I think about the idea of being a witness in someone’s life, reflecting back. What do I reflect back to those in my life? I wonder.
What do you?