A TRIBUTE TO MY MOM
As my mom transcends to an after life, if one believes in that, I am in awe of all the wonderful sweet loving moments we were able to share. I am fortunate to have many photos and videos of her, that capture her sweetness, humor, and innocence that I so treasured throughout the years.
As I witnessed her disappearance from the life she once had, I hold close to me all the joy she brought to me through her sixteen year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
As her world was diminished, each day leaving her with less memory, my love continued to grow.
I remember how for years mom walked the halls for hours in her nursing home, blowing kisses to all those who worked there, and, asking many to join her on her walk to "nowhere".When I visited and was by her side, they would sharewith me how much they loved her.
Mom, a woman in her late 80’s for years searched for her parents wishing to find them and go home. I always believed she was going back to a time and place in her childhood where she felt the most loved and secure.
In many ways my mom was different after she got Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, for me, it opened my heart to a new relationship with her, as I fell unconditionally in love with her.
On Monday February 1st, mom went into respiratory crisis and was put on oxygen and morphine along with 24
hour hospice care. They had instructions that mom's own wishes was not to have any medical treatment to prolong her life; they reassured me that they would only offer comfort care. At 1:20 AM February 5, 2021 the phone rang and awoke me and my husband. I did not need to answer to know what they were calling about.It was the nursing home telling me that they were sorry that my mom had passed away at 12:58 AM.Hanging up the phone I said to my husband that my wish and prayers for the last three difficult years had finally been answered. Mom had finally found peace.
Through the last 3 years I have cried and prayed for this day. I have cried about all the years that she could not appreciate a beautiful sunny day or take a walk on a beach. I have cried about her not remembering my father or her children. I have cried that she could
not remember her one and only grandson whom she adored. I cried that she was not aware he got married, has a child of his own, or could see the young man he became. I cried as her world disappeared into no existence. The one saving grace was that with her newfound innocence and childlike ways
l was so grateful that we were able to smile and laugh together like two teenage girls.
As I reminisce, I realize that I want to celebrate my mom’s life and not her passing. For the last 16 years as the disease progressed she lived in a prison,yet mom never complained and showed as much love as she possibly ever could. She would say things that truly inspired me, became my Buddha and I looked at her in awe and wondered what she was thinking.
I remember how during the first few years of her illness she would constantly repeat “if you have your health you have everything, that is all I wish for my children. “
Sunday February 7 th the day of mom's funeral hit me like a ton of bricks.I did not want to get out of bed. Due to Covid, since my husband, son
and I lived in NY we would participate together as one family on Facetime. My brother and fiancée, living in Florida, would go to the cemetery. My brother called so I could say my final goodbyes to my mom. She looked beautiful as she was wrapped in a white shroud which is a Jewish tradition. She looked at peace, a place that I had yearned for the last three years. I told her how much I loved her and asked my brother to kiss her for me. We performed our own service with eulogies, meditations, and Jewish prayers. Tears streamed down my face yet there was a beauty and calmness to the moment. Mom would be placed next to her husband, my dad who passed away over twenty-five years ago.
I never was one that believed in going to heaven, nor an afterlife, yet today I thought, if it is true, mom will also be reunited with her parents as well as her brother.
I had prayed for this day for quite a few years knowing that when it did come that it would be a blessing for my mom. I would miss her deeply but there would also be a relief for me, for everyday here forward I would not have to worry about her. My mom is gone forever, and I now like so many others my age have become “parentless”.
As cruel a disease as Alzheimer's is we were able to share several wonderful years filled with lots of love. My mom gave birth to me, raised me and as our roles reversed it was a blessing to care for her as she once did for me.
My mom Ruth Elian may you Rest In Peace. You became my hero with your humor & your magnificent ways.
I have started a Group for anyone who would like to honor, share a memory of a loved one who has passed away from any Form of Dementia. This group belongs to ALL of us.