Nine years ago today, my mom passed away. The pain has lessened over the years, but I miss her so very much.
The last few years of her life were challenging ones for my siblings, their families, and me as we watched Mom spiral into the throes of dementia. Her eventual death was like losing her twice as the mom we once knew changed into a childlike woman incapable of caring for herself.
It was a heart-wrenching decision to put Mom, who had always been such an independent woman, into an assisted living facility, but it needed to be done.
Mom hated it at first, begging to be taken back to a home she was unclear about where it even was. She had even gathered some things to take with her when she escaped, but escape would never happen, either from the facility or from the ever-increasing dementia.
Eventually, Mom forgot about the home she had lived in for the past 50+ years and considered the assisted living facility to be her home. She even had a boyfriend[?] named Harold, who made Mom's time there more tolerable and pleasant.
Equally heart-wrenching was having to put my childhood home, the house Mom and Dad had purchased in the early 60s and where Mom had lived for so long, up for sale in order to pay for the assisted living, which was rather expensive.
This is the last photo taken of Mom and me as she lay dying in hospice at the assisted living facility.
But this is not how I choose to remember her, although the moment pictured above was a very tender and special one.
I like to remember Mom as a woman who loved to play games, particularly Scrabble, Upwards, and Trivial Pursuit; a woman who loved watching classic movies; a woman who loved to travel; a woman engaged in church service; a woman whose family brought her the most joy; a woman who loved her grandchildren to pieces; a woman full of generosity who would help or treat a family member or friend any way she could; a woman whose hugs and kisses were warm and loving; a woman who loved to go out and eat; a woman who loved to take walks; a woman who worked hard to support her kids; a woman who was full of laughter; a woman who loved to read; and a woman I am proud to call my mom.
This is the woman I remember and honor today...and every day, really.