“I’m chilly.” Patricia shouted up to her daughter Maria. “Can you fetch me my cardigan?”
Maria appeared in her mother’s orderly bedroom. There was no cardigan in sight. She shouted back “Where did you put it?”
“Maybe in the wardrobe?” Patricia questioned.
Maria opened the wardrobe door and was immediately speechless. The inside of the door was covered in notes. Dozens were faded, while others had new ink. There were almost a hundred to Maria’s eyes. She recognized her mother’s penmanship. At school she’d copied it on forms and permission slips, and knew the arches and twists better than her own. Bewildered, she pulled five off.
My name is Patricia.
My husband was Frank.
I have three children.
My cat’s name is boots
I was born in 1947.
Thoughts rushed through Maria’s mind, but she couldn’t metabolize them. She heard her mother’s footfall. She grabbed the cardigan and bounced her leg nervously. Her tears fell silent. Patricia appeared and stood in the doorway. She looked sullenly at her open wardrobe.
“Mom…what’s going on?” Maria looked deep into her mother’s eyes.
“My life is waning. My memories, my long-ago adventures and my ideas are leaving me.” Patricia sniffled. “I’m confused for weeks at a time. I don’t know who I am or where I belong. I’m transforming into something I no longer recognize, and it terrifies me.” Maria held her mother close and refused to let her go. She ran her fingers lovingly through her curls. She rubbed her back. She kissed her cheek.
“I promise to never again let you forget.” Maria gently whispered. “You may be transforming, but you’ll always be my mother.”
Patricia later wrote one more note for her closet. This one said, “I have a daughter and her name is Maria.”