PART 8: A LOOK INTO DANGEROUS LIAISONS – A TRIBUTE TO MY MOM
May 8th would have been my mother’s birthday. She passed away almost two years ago in August, and although I told her I was writing novels – I’m not sure it really registered with her as she had had several mini-strokes and dementia was worsening. She knew I loved to read, my sister was the exact opposite. The on-going joke in our family was the reason I learned to read early was due to the fact that my mother and sister always seemed to fall asleep when reading bedtime stories to me! With what would have been my mother’s 93rd birthday and upcoming Mother’s Day this is a difficult time for me. I no longer shop for that perfect birthday card and the perfect birthday present, nor Mother’s Day card and gift. Instead, I rely on the memories of the past. Mom always smiled. She was friendly to everyone until dementia affected her life – our life.
My mom was the eldest of six children. Four girls, two boys. Edna(my mom), Evelyn, George, Gladys, Charles, and Minnie. She often told me stories of when they were growing up. We used to have summer cookouts at my grandparent’s house and Christmas gatherings. Those were the good old days. My how time flies. There’s only two of the siblings left now – the youngest ones Charles and Minnie.
There’s a book coming in the future about families that I’m working on; something sort of along Nicholas Sparks type of novel. It’s in the works. It will be a tribute to my family as well as families all over. It will be something different – out of my normal genre, so that will be exciting.
I was my mom’s sole caregiver. ( My sister had passed away from cancer and my dad died several years ago). My husband, daughter, and I lived with my mom and helped take care of her – but I was with her 24/7 basically only leaving the house for a very short time and rushing back home. The time was stressful, to say the least but I needed to take care of my mom. Day after day, it is difficult to watch someone you love slowly fade away in front of you. You watch them struggle to remember things they want so much to tell you, as they become frustrated because they cannot remember a word or words they are looking for – or for that matter what it was they were going to tell you. And then, you have the personality change, something you may have said like you’ve always done before but now all of a sudden causes that person to become angry. And then your mom becomes paranoid, scared. She thinks people are out to hurt her. The doctor explains to you that it’s only going to get worse, that the dementia is the cause due to all of the mini-strokes and major strokes from the past. And finally, you know the time is getting near the end when hospice is called in and the hardest thing you have to do is tell your mom, hoping she will understand -yet she knows but still it is difficult all the same.
It all goes fairly quick. Medication helped keep her comfortable and not in pain; for that I am grateful. It’s difficult watching someone you love die before you. Every time when I would check on her, I’d wonder “would this be the last time?” As I knew she was fading fast, had stopped eating and now no longer drinking anything.
And then it was Monday afternoon, the first day of August. The sun was shining and it was HOT! The caregiver was here and the nurse had come to check on my mom. Her brother had come by to see how she was doing. The nurse and I walked into the room and as the nurse was checking my mom’s vital signs, the next thing I know she was telling me my mom was gone. It was 1:00 pm. My mom was no longer suffering as she had been through enough but I was crushed. She was my mom. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and that smile. She was always smiling.