Saying Goodbye

This does not seem like it’s going to be a very encouraging story, on the surface. There is grieving for a mom who, physically, is still here, but yet she is gone. This has been different than our dad’s story-end — we were blessed to have 2 years to say goodbye. That didn’t make it better, just different.
There is only one place that brings light to this right now: thankfulness for a life with these two parents who were characters in their own right; an odd juxtaposition of out-going fun and self-captive anxiety, howls of laughter and battles with depression, a fierce attendance to responsibility and a throw-it-all-to-the-wind philosophy, acceptance of the unique and strange parts of life and humanity, while still adhering to a set of morals and rules. Sounds like confusion. At times it was, but mostly it was wonderful. There were times of learning together and figuring it out. Leaning on one another. Sometimes this could be a pain, but mostly it was a loving-bond foundation being built that would out-last the years. There were lovely times. There were complete downfalls. There was survival and thriving.
But, what now? The landscape is changing. We see the “next generation” emerging, taking their place, and there is hope that some of the bits and pieces were passed on to them. In the meantime we will find a way to say goodbye to the family we once were.

Our Mom

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Our mom turned 90 in September and we felt fortunate that up until that time she was still living at home, able to go out for the occasional adventure. During the last week of August we went to the county fair and a family birthday party; a true gift for all of us. Now, at the end of September, everything is different. And it causes me to look back, once again.

Growing up, we were a family with troubles and joys, struggles and celebrations. We had times of riding the wave, and times when we were tossed in its surf. But thru it all, or because of it all, we formed a close, tight-knit bond, one to the other. While we learned from dad about being our own person, mom taught us that together we formed a picture of completeness — a one for all, all for one philosophy of sorts.

It is from this whole family picture, ever growing and changing as each new member is added, that the shadow of dad is still seen. Now, due to dementia, there is a forming of the space my mom leaves; a space deeply filled with love and memories. And it is from this place that my sisters and I, our husbands, and our children, keep the memories warm, the home fires still burning, the light still on by how much we love our family, with all its flaws, unusualness, bumps, warts, bruises, and stumbles.

I know from experience that, in time, our little 3-ring circus will re-configure around the spaces, and bond together in a much different way, forming a new picture. And that, eventually, this new family picture will take hold, tying our hearts together, re-shaping our lives.

But, for now, we are caught in the in-between of dementia. I wish, more than anything, our mom could come back to us the way she was. I still catch myself going to the phone to call her, expecting to talk the way we used to. But, there is a truth here to accept now, and only prayer can reach it. And, we know that there is a much better place waiting for her.

Thanks mom for all you still are, were, and forever will be.FullSizeRenderIMG_0112IMG_2695