We left the restaurant and noticed an elderly woman hunched over, grasping a cane with both hands. She was barely able to place one foot in front of the other. My mom walked over to her and gently put her hand on her elbow. “Do you need some help,” she asked.
The woman looked at her and smiled. “No thank you,” she said. “My daughter is bringing the car and will help me”. They spoke for a few more seconds as I stood watching. You might think my mom did a nice thing by asking the woman if she needed help. But for me it was much more than that.
Three years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Since then her mental health has declined. She can still dress herself and complete household chores, and even though she calls me by my sister’s name, she still knows I’m her daughter. There are things that she cannot do anymore. She forgets how to speak certain words, making it difficult to communicate.
When we encountered the woman outside the restaurant, my mom stood up straight, confidently walked over to the woman and spoke in full sentences. I was speechless as I watched her. In that moment, she was my mom again – the mom who was not sick, but young and healthy.