I spent the weekend with Maga and my mom and my aunt/uncles. It was, as it has been for the past five years, amazing getting to sit back and watch my mom be a sister rather than a mom. Watching my mom and aunt/uncles remember old times, revert to habitual familiar roles, learn each other anew.
Meanwhile Maga’s memory’s gotten worse and worse, as evidenced when we were all sitting in her room chatting and watching TV and she dozed off only to awaken a few minutes later, look around, and declare, “When’d you all arrive?”
The humor and the sorrow balanced each other out.
And tonight, as I chatted with Maga while in a taxi home, Maga’s memory was better than average, yet her words were slightly less so. “I was so glad to see you and the other nice relatives this weekend.”
It’s a tough balance to maintain: one where Maga is fading, but the other members of the family remain vibrant and hilarious. One where she’s accepted her fate and we’re equal parts sad with memories and happy with forward momentum. One where she remains grounded and we (Uncle P and me) are up in the sky floating and living and seeking new paths forward. One where the roots Maga planted are strong and healthy and are the foundation for this life she started…it’s up to us to continue onward, even though she’s 98 and even as she asked me,” How can anyone be that old?”
“With style,” I said.
And we all can only hope to mirror that sentiment.