My mother’s lucid moments include conversations about her sickness, grief, regret. Stories of jobs that never valued her true craft of sewing. Sweatshops. White male owners who ran assembly lines. My mother never understood why her art should be rushed. Her husband who never quite loved her. He was a hard worker. Never abandoning her after two daughters were born. always saying how boys would have been better. Her husband never have cards or hugs which my mother blamed herself. Friends stopped being friends when her dementia became to much work. Her family stopped coming over when she could no longer make the best pasta with gravy. Lasagna. Fried zucchini. Chocolate chip cookies.

When my mother is delusional I am a stranger. I am Angela. her nurse who rubs organic lavender lotion on her arms. Her legs. Her feet. I sit and listen for hours about her amazing made up life. How she still lives in Italy with her beautiful husband who adores her. Her two gorgeous girls that would do anything for her. How she spends her days cooking from the urban garden two blocks from their apartment. How she sweeps the tile floors. How she always has chocolates or biscotti available for people stopping by.

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.