I never knew what heartbreak truly felt like until I began losing my mom to Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed a year and a bit ago, and a few months ago, I wrote a post on how nothing prepares you for Alzheimer’s. Since the post, I’ve received an outpour of support and it has meant so much to me. Friends, some of whom I rarely spoke to, messaged kind words and sent medical articles to me whenever they found something they thought would be helpful. I’ve appreciated every single instance of kindness, but it hasn’t been easy. It gets especially hard during this time of year, when Mother’s Day rolls around and each day I am bombarded with never-ending ads for cards, flowers, and brunches. I hate to say it, but I began to feel bitter about the holiday, until I realized that my mom wouldn’t want this. I miss her, and it hurts so very much to be reminded of what I could have had with her.
I always wonder if I made the right decision in choosing to live away from my parents as I start a life for myself. There isn’t a single day, or hour, that goes by without me thinking of my mom. On the nights I can’t sleep, I stay up and think about what went wrong, what I could have done better, how this could have been prevented. I want to blame someone, anyone, but my friends—and the doctor—tell me that there is no one to blame. These things just happen. I absolutely despise the fact that it was my mom’s mind, the part of her I cherished the most, that succumbed to disease.
I think a lot about the questions I never got to ask my mom. Mom, what was the weirdest thing I did as a kid? If you could eat anything for the rest of your life, what would it be? What is your biggest fear? What is your biggest regret? There are so many things I want to ask her, and I find every path I have to negotiate a little harder because she isn’t mentally present enough to guide me. My mom was so much more than “just a mom”: she was my best friend, a caregiver, and was so kind to everyone she encountered. She was endlessly optimistic about my sisters and I, and she gave everything she had in raising us. My mom had the sweetest smile and there was a great sense of independence and feistiness that lived inside her. She was also a brainy math and science genius who tried very hard to get me to love math.
Mom, I miss the long talks we used to have every day over the phone. I loved that we talked about the most random things. I loved that you tried to help me with math homework over the phone. I miss sitting around the dinner table with you and Justina and Alexis, the four of us holding our stomachs as we died of laughter, trying so hard not to spit out the dinner we were chewing. I miss telling you every detail of my life and listening to you do the same. I remember that time I called you when it was 2am and you were in bed, all because I freaked out about not being able to find my birth control pills—the same ones you took me to get when I first told you I wanted them. And when I gushed about my first love, thinking he was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, you listened, even though you knew I could do a lot better and just knew it wasn’t going to happen. You were so supportive of my decision to go vegetarian and took me to all the best vegetarian restaurants in the city. I also love that we are both obsessed with smoothies, vegetables, and digestive biscuits. I think I got that from you.
Mom, you are such a big part of me. I am who I am because of you. No one has known me longer and better than you have, and no one will ever be able to replace you. I love you so much. Thank you for bringing me into this world and choosing to mother me. I couldn’t have asked for a better mom, even if you were only mentally present for the first 21 years of my life. You are the strongest, smartest, and kindest woman I know. Alzheimer’s ain’t got nothin’ on you.
This raw vegan pistachio ice cream is dedicated to my mother, because it’s her favourite flavour ever and that she will stop at nothing to get ice cream when she wants it. Happy Mother’s Day, mama. I love you.
I’m currently re-testing the recipe and have removed the recipe temporarily.