Friday, September 18, 2015

Everything Changes

My Mom passed away Saturday, August 1. She had Alzheimer's. I first noticed the forgetfulness and confusion three years ago. It's been a rough few years for everyone.

My sister and her daughter (who were visiting me in North Carolina) and I flew home. It turned out to be four days before she passed away. As difficult as it was, it was a gift to be there with her during this transitional time. I was struck by the most tender moments like my dad who stopped and talked to mom every time he passed by her bed. He told her he loved her over and over again. I have to believe that her dying was made easier on dad by her being at home and not in a hospital. Hospice made that possible and what a wonderful service they provide for terminally ill patients and their families.

Another touching moment was when my 10 year old niece was reading to my mom, "1001 Things It Means to be a Mom." Mom was a little restless that night and Sarah stopped reading and said, "What's that Grandma?" Then my niece turned to me and said, "Grandma says keep reading. It's awesome." It was more than I could take. I had to turn away.

Dad continues to have the at home caregivers 24/7. His situation hasn't changed. He's unable to see clearly so someone cooking for him and running around for and with him is what he needs. He won't go into a nursing home and I guess who can blame him. He naps a lot and seems to be in and out of the hospital more and more these days. I hope that's not a sign of what's to come.

Dad is 86 years old. And we all know our parent's will get old, but no one wants to see their decline. To me they'll always be the faithful, bickering, stubborn, generous folks who are firmed rooted on their land and refuse to change; living in their old farm house doing the simple things they loved to do. Day in and day out, always the same. Same store for groceries. Same bank for finance. Same church for masses. Bake the same pies. Cook the same foods.

Until your mom gets Alzheimer's. Or your dad is blind. Then pretty much everything changes.