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Missing Person

All of my life I’ve wanted to make my mother happy. I know that sounds very codependent, and it is, but growing up in a tumultuous household that’s how it was. I never wanted to be the one to add to her stress.

When I was older, with a car, I was always the one she could depend on to find things. I would go to 4 different stores to find the coffee creamer she wanted, or the ice cream brand and flavor that was her favorite. It seemed crazy to me at the time I was doing it but it didn’t matter, because I simply wanted her to be happy and the payoff was in getting that “you found it, I knew you would” response.

All these years later, the dreaded change has happened, and my mother doesn’t recognize me all the time. Somewhere she still knows I take care of her, but when she says things like “I want to call Rosanne so she can take me home” I know that even while I am standing in front of her, she doesn’t know it’s me.

I remember the first time it happened I felt like someone had hit me in the stomach with a bat. I couldn’t breathe. I stood there, stone still, and waited. Surely she would say, “I’m only kidding” or “gotcha!” But she never did. The rest of our interaction was a blur of my trying to not react to the fact that she didn’t know who I was, while we talked about her room and how lovely it was.

Now, it is simply fact. There are times she knows me, and then there are times when she doesn’t, but my saving grace is that she seems to like me anyway. Sometimes, I get a gift, like the other night when I tucked her in for bed. After I kissed her goodnight my hand was still on the bed. She touched it and said “goodnight Rosanne.” Goodnight mom.


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