Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blog 66: Song, and 50 Minutes With Mom on Easter



My mom was one of those talented people who could sew, paint, and cook, just to name of few of her many talents.  She made the best potato salad and meatloaf.  I wish I could make it the same but that's just impossible.  Last night I made an attempt to replicate her potato salad for our Easter cookout today, but it just doesn't compare.  I thought about her every step of the way and felt as though she was with me, guiding me in the process. 

I can’t help but think about my mom when a holiday comes around and today is no exception.  I guess I think about her so much because everything started with her.  All of my early childhood memories involved her.  It’s pretty clear she has been a huge influence on my life and no doubt on my sister's lives as well.  My mom was made for us, and we were made for her.   This beautiful song just says it all.  It's called The Story...
 

It was three years ago that we celebrated the last family Easter at my mom’s house.  Much has changed since then.   Her house has been sold, Mom is in an elderly group home now, and her Alzheimer’s has taken much of who she was away and left a weak, feeble body.  This horrible disease has taken it's toll on our family, too.  Here’s a picture of my family in happier times when we were much younger.  This was taken on Easter, in 1965, at my grandparent’s farm. 



I called to talk to my mom on the phone today and got an extra special surprise.  Usually I can only keep the conversation going for about five to ten minutes before she hands the caregiver the phone or the caregiver takes the phone, but this time Mom held the phone up to her ear and we talked for 50 minutes!  The caregiver walked away and left Mom with the phone and surprisingly she held the phone steady by her ear. 

Most of the time the conversation was one-sided and revolved around me trying to get her to talk or answer questions.  She never asks questions anymore so it’s pretty much up to me to get her to talk.  Even though much of what she said didn’t make sense, I’m beginning to understand her language and take from it what I think she is trying to say.   She usually only gets the first part of a sentence out before she stops talking, and I assume it's because she forgets what she was going to say or she is unable to formulate her thoughts.  She did however say some memorable things and I always write those things down.   It's like keeping a part of her with me forever.  I cling to those moments of clarity and meaning in her words.

I must have told her I love her twenty times and each time she said it right back to me. I love hearing those words come out of her mouth.   She couldn’t say my name and she couldn’t name her other daughters.  I tried to help her by starting with my name and going down the line but nothing would help.  She couldn’t say our names today, but maybe she can tomorrow.  I know she recognized my voice and knows me as being someone familiar and I believe she still knows I'm her daughter.  After all, she told me she loves me twenty times today!  I think if I was in front of her she would be able to say my name.  At least I hope so.  

I felt close to mom this Easter because we got to spend some time together, uninterrupted.  This was a wonderful Easter gift and truly a miracle that Mom held the phone for that long.  That hasn’t happened in a very long time.  I needed her today and I felt like she needed me, too.   We got 50 minutes together, time that we both needed, and I’m happy.      

8 comments:

  1. It is so awesome that she talked to your for that long. I love that song, it is very fitting and I can imagine the words felt like your own. I never noticed the picture on the top right side of your blog. I love that photo.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A very special Easter for you. I am glad you have that sweet memory.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your story was beautiful. God bless your family.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so glad you had a good 50 minutes on the phone with your Mom.

    My dad is in the late stages of Alzheimer's. He just turned 70 in November. My family has been living with the great Alzheimer's beast for over ten years. Thank goodness I live close enough to the V.A hospital where dad is to be able to visit him. My dad is unable to talk on a phone or even comprehend what a phone is for...

    I am so very sorry to hear of any other families having to deal with this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. While Alzheimer's patients suffer from increasing short-term memory loss, they often still retain much of their long-term memory. One of the best ways to engage with Alzheimer's sufferers in the early to middle stages is to ask them to tell you stories from their past. It is enjoyable and calming for them and usually very interesting for the listener.

    Alzheimer’s clinic

    ReplyDelete
  6. I believe I know why your mama cried so much....her heart felt so much love that it couldn't hold it all inside and overflowed into tears. I have lived away from my children and grandchildren for several years and as a mother, I often think of them and I feel so much love for them, I cry. And though children may not know, their mothers do that...and more often than they will admit. It's a love so deep only the heart can feel it and it overflows. God bless you for sharing your story about your beautiful mama!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's great you got such a long conversation, it's such a sad condition.

    ReplyDelete
  8. thanks for share.

    ReplyDelete