As Mother’s Day approaches, my thoughts naturally turn to mom, although rarely does a day go by that I don’t think about her. But particularly with Mother’s Day, I’ve been remembering ones from the recent past like when my brother came down and surprised her and me making a special meal since we both hated going out to eat on Mother’s Day with all the crowds. I probably got that from her!
This will be my second Mother’s Day without mom, and not surprisingly, my feelings of loss have not waned.
While looking for a birthday card for a friend I was bombarded with Mother’s Day card displays. I couldn’t help myself and began looking through some that I might have considered had I had someone to send it to. Mom and I both preferred cards with very few lines of words but that conveyed a loving and powerful message. We both favored simplicity.
It’s not just Mother’s Day but every day circumstances that continue to bring memories to the surface, like this morning. The smell of turkey bacon cooking in the microwave at work took me back to the brunches we shared at her independent living facility – how the wait staff served her, how her friends greeted her, and just the special time we spent a couple of Sundays each month.
As I drive by the Botanic Garden, I remember our time at the annual Japanese Festival and the Butterflies in the Garden exhibit. At our local performing arts venue I remember the concerts and plays we saw. In essence, just about everywhere I go there are memories of mom.
And so, as this Mother’s Day approaches, I lovingly remember the last one we spent together in 2011, with her wearing a sticker from a card one of the kids gave her – “Best Nana Ever.” That she was.
There’s no disputing what an awful and robbing disease Alzheimer’s is. I just watched a moving video of singer Glen Campbell’s daughter testifying before congress about her father’s declining condition from it. I can’t begin to tell you how many articles I’ve read about how a loved one afflicted with the disease started not recognizing family, friends, etc.
And as I read these very sad accounts, I continually count my blessings that it never happened to mom and us. Up until the end, when she slipped into a coma in hospice, she always knew who I was. When I would walk into her room every morning and greet her with a hello and a kiss, she smiled and tried to speak. And when I would ask her if she wanted some ice chips, she would nod “yes.” Although she hadn’t seen one of my dear friends in nine months, but someone she has known for about 30 years, mom’s eye’s lit up and a big smile came across her face when she visited her in hospice.
Towards the end, mom was sleeping all the time. But when I greeted her every morning, although her eyes were closed, she moved in her bed as to acknowledge my presence when she heard my voice. The nurses noticed this too.
A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about her, and tears are welling up in my eyes as I write this. But I am abundantly grateful that mom always knew who we were.
After reading and hearing about so many stories of loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s/dementia, I’ve come to see how blessed mom and our family were.
Sure she had short-term and some long-term memory loss but the most important memory loss she never suffered from as so many do, was recognizing us. She always knew who we were.
When mom was in hospice and when T. would talk to her and sing her that funny and endearing song he made up about her, even though it became more difficult for mom to talk, she managed an, “Oh, Ted,” accompanied by a big smile.
Mom never experienced personality changes as many do. She remained the same, sweet, person she always was.
As I continue to reflect back on last year’s events about mom, I still question some things that I did and didn’t do, like spending more time with her during the week even though I worked. Was it right to move her into assisted living and not move her into a 2-bedroom apartment with a live-in aide? If I hadn’t moved her to AL then she wouldn’t have fallen and fractured her pelvis and the “beginning of the end”, as I call it, wouldn’t have happened.
But then, as Dr. K tried to explain to me, her condition would have gotten much worse; it appeared as though she had some TIAs and would likely have be on the path to eventually not recognizing us.
So, as I continue to try to fully accept events leading up to her passing, I thank my blessings everyday that she knew who we all were ’til the end and how much she was loved.
A year ago yesterday, on Feb. 10, I lost mom. I still can’t believe it’s been an entire year since she’s been gone.
I have now gone through an entire year of holidays, family celebrations and birthdays without her. And this year, there will be another wedding of a grandchild without her.
When I think of mom (which is practically a daily occurrence), I am slowly starting to think of her with warm and loving memories and not the profound loss I feel. I know, and I’ve said this before, that mom would be furious to know that she’s caused so much sadness in my life. I can hear her saying, “Oh, Jane…”
Since her passing I have suffered from situational depression. Some days have been worse than others. Some, really not too bad. Weekends have been the hardest since mom and I spent practically every weekend together for nearly five years.
After counseling via Dr. R and my hospice bereavement counselor I decided to give an anti-depressant a try. Now, anyone who knows me know how anti-pills I am and if I don’t have to take one I won’t. But constant bouts of crying, losing passion for things I once had and just a general blah and blase feeling about things prompted me to give it a try.
I hated it. Almost immediately I started waking up several times in the middle of the night and it paralyzed any normal emotion I had. I understand it’s supposed to do the latter but I hated it. I even tried thinking about things that would normally evoke crying from me but I couldn’t shed a tear. After two weeks I knew I had to stop it. I spoke to my doctor and luckily this was one drug that you didn’t have to wean yourself from. It was surprising to her that it acted that fast on me. It took a full three weeks to get it all out of my system. I never thought I would be so happy to cry again, but I was. I got my “self” back.
I still have not been able to re-visit certain places mom and I used to go to and don’t know when I will.
I am learning to live with my “new normal.”
Recently, I’ve been reading posts relating to mom’s rapid decline from last year that correspond to the current day’s date in 2013. I’m not sure why I’ve been doing this. Maybe to see where I was emotionally at that time.
According to the Jewish calendar, Feb. 10, 2012 – the day we lost mom – corresponds to 17 Shevat. This past Jan. 28 marked her yahrzeit – the anniversary of her passing (still can’t say the “D” word) – which corresponds to 17 Shevat. -
At any rate, in reading last year’s post, I so vividly remember today, last year.
I am so honored to be nominated for the Super Sweet Blogging Award. What makes this nomination so special is that one of my favorite bloggers, Kathy, who pens “Kathy’s Blog: Healing from the loss of a parent” (http://peace4me521.wordpress.com/), nominated me.
I encourage everyone to follow her beautiful writings. They are a wonderful tribute to the mother she lost four years ago to pancreatic cancer. Her posts have offered tremendous comfort to me as I continue through the grieving process for my mother, who I lost last February.
Thank you, Kathy.