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.

Through The Valleys

IMG_0112Recently, I watched the Glen Campbell documentary “I’ll Be Me”. Glen Campbell has Alzheimer’s and is still able to play and sing beautiful music. This starts me wondering about life, and old age, and Alzheimer’s. I see, in his story, how he is still “in there” — still himself in the middle of a disease that steals. And in his story, I see my mom’s story too. There are days when she is her old self — joking, or giving advice filled with wisdom. Then, there are those days when she isn’t capable of getting out of bed, or forming words that have meaning, and we wonder where “she” has gone to. But I have learned that, in all of this, there is still a life and there is a death. My sisters and I attempt to take from each day what is given and we cry over that which is lost. When our dad died from cancer, we went through it together the best we knew how. We are challenged now, my sisters and I, to face this head-on, through the tears and the sadness. We try to go through this mist, where one day we can touch her with words and memories, while other days her world is out of reach. But, as with our dad, it’s the love, and the memory of love, that sustains us — all the way through the valleys and up the mountains.