Let me tell you about someone
really special - my Mother.
Mom had a terrible stroke last September that
escalated her dementia into about Stage 6 Alzheimerís ó complete
with aphasia. After the stroke I brought her back to the home she
and I have shared for the last 12 years, but of course this
homecoming was different. This time Mom canít stay by herself or
take care of herself any longer, so we have a sitter with her from
7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.; then I take over.
My Mother has always been a
really funny person. She was a wonderfully nurturing parent to me,
to my brother and sister, a steadfast wife to our Dad (who passed in
1993); but always, there was a twinkle of mischief in her eye. In
fact, the engraving on Dadís tombstone says, ďTill we meet again my
Little Starry Eyes.Ē The quote is from a poem Dad wrote to Mom
while he was fighting in France and Germany during World War II.
What Iíve discovered in our journey together is that there are some
aspects of a personís character that never change. Sheís still a
joy to be around, even under these sad circumstances.
Hereís my story, or more
importantly, Momís story.
One night not long ago, Mom and
I were going through our nightly routine. It was her bed time; I
helped her from the living room to her bathroom (sheís at severe
risk for falls). After she finished in the bathroom, I helped her
stand, then holding both of her hands, I walked backward so she
could walk forward but not fall. As we walked toward the sink where
she would brush her teeth, for some weird reason (the nut doesnít
fall far from the tree) I said, ďMom, letís dance! Letís cha-cha;
no letís rumba!Ē I started humming something that wasnít a rumba at
all and began swaying to my own off-key music. Mom laughed out loud
and indicated that there was no way she was going to dance (I must
admit, sometimes she looks at me like Iím crazy)! I proceeded
backward to the sink, still humming. She brushed her teeth, then I
started leading her, in our same awkward way, toward her bed. A few
feet from the bed we stopped, as we always do, and I helped her off
with her robe while still facing her. When I slipped it off her
arms and threw it across the chair, Mamma did a surprisingly
wonderful thing. She put her arms around me and we DANCED! I
started humming again and we held each other, swaying to my awful
rumba for maybe only a minute, but in that brief minute her bedroom
was transformed into a beautiful, starlit night on the terrace of
the most majestic ballroom with a fifty-piece orchestra playing all
our favorite music just so we could dance for this minute. I know,
that sounds very melodramatic, but I want you to understand that
this was a magical minute with Mom; that magic can still happen in a
relationship even in the face of this terrible disease. After that
brief minute we hugged and told each other that we loved the other.
I helped her into her bed, tucked her in and left her that night
with both of us smiling.
That was one of the ďminutesĒ
that happen occasionally in our home that make everything else
worthwhile. Iíve been truly blessed these past months in my life
with Mom. God could have taken her from us last September, but He
knew that we needed more time, time to say goodbye and to show our
love in a very real way to one of the most special angels heíll ever
have in heaven. I am truly grateful for the caregiving opportunity
He has given me.
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