The other day I got a notice from Facebook that I had memories to look back on. This was nothing new, as I receive them daily. This one, however, brought tears to my eyes. It was from October 31, 2012.
After completing a “Month of Thanksgiving” during November, 2011, I decided to do a “Year of Thanks” the following year. Each day I posted something I was thankful for. It was tough, but I’m glad I did it. My mother was in a nursing home suffering from dementia, so many of my posts were about our time together.
My father moved into the independent living section of the retirement complex so he could be close to Mom. In the beginning, Mom had lots of lucid moments, but she was confused as to why she and Dad no longer lived together. She used to ask him if he had divorced her, or no longer love her. It was really hard on him, but every day, he visited her twice a day. He wheeled her to his apartment after breakfast, then sat with her while she had dinner.
By the time October rolled around, Mom was in a decline. She wasn’t eating much, which we were told was the beginning of the end, and that it would probably be three to six months at the most. Mom seldom spoke anymore. Most of her communication came in the form of groans and moans. On this day, however, she was a bit more alert. I asked her if she was thirsty, and she said, “Yes.” After giving her some water, she said, “Much better.” To most people those words wouldn’t mean much, but to me they were a gift from God. Little did I know Mom would pass away twenty days later.
My first book, “Broken Vessels” was dedicated to my mother. Sadly, by the time it came out, she wasn’t able to understand what that meant. She had read an earlier version, and commented that she hoped the mother in the book wasn’t based on her. Yeah, the mom in BV isn’t exactly a loving person much of the time. I assured her that she and Louise weren’t the same person. But in truth, there were parts of my mother I incorporated in Louise, but she didn’t need to know that.
Reading that memory nearly three years later reminded me of how fragile and unpredictable life is. Parents aren’t perfect. Children aren’t perfect, Spouses aren’t perfect. Cherish every moment—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Love hard and forgive quickly.