In the midst of a recent conversation that did not make sense, Mom reached over to my bowl at the dinner table, pointed at it and said, this says, I am not necessary.
Once, Mom was quite necessary. She was a mother of two, a small business owner, a friend, a wife, a sister, the member of her family who knew what was happening with every cousin and great aunt. She organized events at our church and once upon a very long time ago, at my schools. She threw great parties. She maintained a beautiful home.
The productive version of Mom though has faded away. When we first started living together, she would iron and do dishes for our house. She felt that she contributed. Gradually this has become harder until now when she simply feels unnecessary.
I know that when I go running out the door after a two minute morning talk, that Mom probably does not feel how much value I put on our exchanges. But, I still need Mom. Sure, she is no longer actually doing anything for me. But being can be more important than doing– though it is perhaps less valued in our frenetically busy culture.
But I look forward to seeing Mom and knowing that she is safe and well. We still laugh together. She is still my mother and my friend. I still need whatever part of her that remains with us, as long as possible.