Love and Gratitude
Marissa Coleman was a twenty one year old woman who was living with her mother. She was an aspiring writer, hoping one day to be published and be famous worldwide. For a young lady such as her, it is normal to conceive such a big dream. But sometimes, life would never follow the way you wanted it to be. A year ago Mrs. Coleman, her mother, had the Alzheimer’s disease. It made a huge difference in her life. Her mother was not rich to hire a maid for her nor there are any other family members living near their home; her mother in a way as she thought one time, will be a hindrance towards her dreams of becoming famous. She already finished college. She thought it would at least lessen the struggle of her responsibilities. But she never realized how severe the hardships would be of taking care of her mother when she finally succumbed to the disease.
Day by day, Marissa endured every effect of the Alzheimer’s. Her mother’s tempers of refusing to drink her medicine, peeing all of a sudden without saying anything, these only increased her decision of sending her away to the Home for the Aged. They’ve become nothing more but an intrusion that prevents Marissa from writing. But every attempt she makes, her exertion to do so always fades away.
One night, Marissa was writing a book on her laptop studiously when her mother broke down in tears. She heard her wailing sound that echoed in the entire house. Marissa let out a long stressful exhale and ran towards her mother’s bedroom where she was found sitting behind her rocking chair at the edge of the room. She saw her face with anxiety and tears as if she was a helpless creature, vulnerable to anyone who might attempt to hurt her.
“Who are you? ” Mrs. Coleman said “Please don’t hurt me, please”
“No” Marissa replied as she walk towards her slowly “I would never hurt you. Please Mom, sit down and tell me your problem”
“I don’t know who you are, but have you seen my daughter?”
“I’m your daughter, Mom. It’s me, Marissa”
“You’re not my daughter. Please, I have to find her. There are robbers in the house. They already shot my husband”
At that moment, Mrs. Coleman stood up and tried to run towards the door. But her feeble body slows her attempt of doing so. Marissa was irritated, but managed to remain calm. She tried to stop her from what she’s attempting to do yet Mrs. Coleman wasn’t deterred. The conversation between them went around in circles until Marissa had enough and said in a rather agitated tone “For the last time, there are no robbers in the house, you’re bringing up the past again. It’s because of your Alzheimer’s you’re acting in this way. I can’t believe I’m stuck here with you instead of being out there in the world chasing my dreams. I think I would’ve been a writer by now if it wasn’t for your Alzheimer’s”
All of a sudden, Mrs. Coleman stopped talking. She felt weak —- weak to stand up. Marissa tried to take hold of her, but her mother politely refused calling her “Ma’m” instead of her own name. She sat on the bed rather confused saying “I have Alzheimer’s?” There was silence after that. For a few moments Marissa stood there, rather ashamed for what she said. Mrs. Coleman, contemplating and murmuring about Alzheimer’s with a dull look in her eyes couldn’t ease her guilt. Marissa tried to apologize, but her mother only gave her a strange look in the face. Slowly she went outside of the room, closing the door gently behind her.
Marissa went to the cupboard with a heavy heart to get her medicines, but as she opened the medicine box, it was empty. She planned to go the pharmacy tomorrow to buy them. She then went back to her laptop and tried to write again, but the thought of her mother remembering the day when they lost her father became an intrusion to her thoughts. It seems she couldn’t concentrate with her writing as those heavy feelings went through her. She tried to bear the pain, but she was too weak. Seeing her father being shot at a distance while hiding with her mother underneath the bed left a mark on their memory. But the most affected between them was her mother. Distraught from the tragedy, she would never speak of it until this terrible disease came.
She stood up from her chair for a moment, then walked towards a table where all of their picture frames were assembled. From her childhood pictures with both of her parents by her side, nostalgic feelings rushed over her heart as she glanced to each one of the frames. Each showed every memorable times they had as a family, a family she thought would never break. She closed her eyes, urging herself to stop the pain. But she was too weak to bear it. Losing her father was a burden, but with her mother that doesn’t even remember who she was is enough. She still remembers the time her mother found out that she has Alzheimer’s.
Marissa knew she has hurt her feelings. But she was hurt the same as she did. She wanted to become a writer, yet she hasn’t even published a single story yet. Her constant longing for fame for her writing has always been her aim. But with the condition of her mother, her dreams are far from ever coming true. Having enough on taking care of her, she might as well send her to the Home for the Aged. But what was it that prevents her from ever doing such a thing? Bearing her numerous tantrums and annoyances? Was it love?
“My mother….” Marissa thought, staring at their picture frames “My mother sacrificed a lot of things for me. When father died, my mother took numerous jobs just to have food on our plates and to finish my studies. I still remember the day learned she has Alzheimer’s and how much she dreaded the fact that one day she won’t even remember me anymore. She might not remember me anymore but she still remembers how scared she was of having Alzheimer’s. I love my mother but is this how I repay her? What kind of a daughter am I? Blinded by my own selfish desire of becoming famous when my mother needs me. She might have Alzheimer’s but it doesn’t mean she’s no longer my mother anymore”
That was said enough.
That same night, Marissa went to her mother’s bedroom again. She peeked inside and there she saw her beloved parent sleeping. This gave her at least the sign of relief to see her in peace with herself. But before she went back outside, she gave her mother a tender kiss on the forehead and whispered “I love you, Mom”
She was her mother and her love was a gift. Memories fade but the feelings will always remain.