My mother was as colorful as an oil slick. Six years ago I first wrote about her for the new Huffington Post Fearless section; it was easier to sift through childhood memories than deal with what was happening at the time. Watching both parents with Alzheimer's Disease slip away, there's a lingering wish that you could travel down a chute to when things were horrible but not yet hopeless. The only problem is, you'd have to live through the worst of it again.
Last weekend I witnessed a moment that brought back the best of it. A fest-goer danced with his father while my husband's band played "I Want to Walk You Home." The dad was twirling and barefoot, a million miles away. The son swayed with him, making sure he didn't fall. He was smiling and crying at the same time.
That's what I recognized; the light in your eyes when you see your parent clinging to something still on this earth. It was not a jolly festival moment. With Alzheimer's Disease, even the best of times tear your heart out.
I still dream about my mother. Last month she sat up from an Alzheimer's fog and announced: "Call your book Pickle Juice." My brilliantly practical husband suggested, "Call your second book pickle juice." There are plenty of stories to remember before she went loudly into that dark night. The times she tied a tractor tube onto a 4-wheeler and let us sail across the snow. When she brought me to the edge of The Cloud That Roars during the Rhodesia Zambezia war over Victoria Falls. Mom was never one to wait until the war was over.
I still think of her as only being gone for hours, and cannot imagine a life where she's been gone for years. Maybe that's from saying goodbye for so many years before she was really gone.
This Mother's Day hold your mother as close as you can. If she had the choice, I'm sure she would not leave you for this world.
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