Saturday, July 12, 2008

In Memorium

Some months ago, after years of slow, agonizing decline into the opaque fog of dementia, my mother died. Mercifully, she slipped away gently one evening and was buried shortly afterward next to my Dad who had been waiting patiently for their reunion for 16 years.

Oddly, Mom died the evening before Thanksgiving, while Dad passed a day before Christmas eve. His birthday was November 28th and we always celebrated it on Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving through New Years Holiday Season will always be bittersweet from now on.

Having been through so many mini-deaths during Mom’s long decline into dementia, I sort of expected the actual event to be easier than it was when Dad suddenly died of a massive coronary event in a Florida Sears store. It wasn’t. It was like being hit in the head by a 2x4. A clergyman told me, wisely, that whenever a mother dies it’s the wrong time. You’re never ready. He was so right!

When I got “the call” I’d been expecting for years (each time one of her medium sized mini-strokes knocked her down to a new low), I was stunned. Strange how poorly human beings are able to deal with the reality and finality of death. This wasn’t just another false alarm. This was it!

Still, as they say, for Mom it was a blessing (and probably for me too, although I don’t feel that way yet). Her life quality was so low for so long that I can only believe in the goodness of her being out of pain, discomfort, total dependence, confusion, etc. For me, though, I’m still at the stage of realizing that I’ll never see her again—and that I’ve become an adult orphan.

Humor is often the best way to deal with sadness. So, a friend told me that as an only child, caregiving Mom for 16 years was my job. Not only have I lost my mother, he said, but I’ve also lost my job.

It’s true and I’m mourning them both.

Bob Tell

1 comment:

rilera said...

I too am a caregiver for a parent with dementia. Mom is about mid-stage and I am getting ready to move her to a memory care facility after caring for her in our home for 3 years. Your blog is quite interesting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I'm sorry to hear about your Mom's passing. God bless.