Remembering Mom


P1000809 (640x480)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.

390225_2539119711582_304029215_nMy 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.

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11 Responses to Remembering Mom

  1. Kathy Heare Watts says:

    I am still blessed to have both of my parents. My mother has dementia, one called short-term memory loss. A typical conversation will have you repeating things, especially when she sees pictures of my grandchildren and from one picture to the next she ask, “How old is she?” type questions.
    My father plays games with her at dinner, “What did you do today Shirley?” “What did you have for lunch?” “Where did you go?” Especially when I go down and my sister and I take her with us. She tires easily and we end up taking her back home by her choice and then after we go again she will tell Dad, “Where are the girls?” and when he tells her we have gone back shopping she will say, “Well, I would have gone with them.”
    My sister Sandy is a godsend, she gave up her job 3 years ago and takes Mom to all her Doctor appointments, to pick up prescriptions and she organizes all her medicines. She even schedules their hair cut appointments back to back, and teeth cleaning at the dentist.

    • Lucie says:

      I love your story, Kathy. It took my father quite a few months to accept Mom’s prognosis. He was always in control, and didn’t know how to react when that control was taken from him. I’m glad he eventually realized the best thing he could do for Mom was to be there for her as much as possible.

  2. Ann Ellison says:

    I enjoyed your post about your mom. Our stories of our parents are almost the same. My mom had dementia and my dad moved from his independent living facility to be near her. He would go do every money and have breakfast with her and sit in a recliner by her bedside until lunch. He would go back to his wing for lunch and a nap, and then return to mom’s wing for supper. The staff was so sweet. Each wing where they were had a open area for families when they visited and they would fix my mom and dad a table there separate from the dining area so they could share their evening meal together. My mom’s passing was very similar to how your mom passed.

  3. Charlene says:

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. The truth is, we never know what our most cherished memories will be until they are all we have left. Stay in the moment. Pay attention to the people you love. Build memories, not regrets.

  4. Penny S says:

    Wow, such an emotionally moving post! We all need to remember to appreciate what we have as it may be gone before we know it. That goes tenfold for the people in our lives. As Charlene said, “Build memories not regrets!”

  5. Jan Kaess says:

    I remember those times you spoke of with your mom. Your blog is a reminder to be thankful for those around us. I was just sharp with y mother in law. I need to go tell her I love her. Thank you for the reminder.

  6. Deanna Stevens says:

    Memories.. I try to remember the good ones, & there were many 🙂
    Enjoyed your post & I agree make the most of each day & do our best to
    make GOOD memories…

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