When my Mom started showing signs of dementia, it was hard to believe. I think she was about 85 years old. That was 11 years ago. At first it was not too bad.
She would write down her thoughts so she wouldn’t forget what she needed to do for the day. It was helpful. As her dementia go worse, we wouldn’t allow her to cook or drive any more. She was aware of her problem and it was very difficult for Mom to accept that she was unable to focus or remember things that had just happened to her. Short term memory became a problem.
Mom was quite an amazing person. Not only was she beautiful, she was also very energetic and athletic. She played tennis, roller skated, jumped rope, and walked 3 miles every day. How sad that as this awful disease progressed, she could no longer participate in these activities.
She was intricately involved in taking care of my children as well as my grandchildren (that would be her great-grandchildren). She always felt that she had to give back to the family and loved being with them.
As the years progressed, and Mom and Dad were unable to take care of themselves anymore, we placed them in an assisted living facility. For me, as the daughter of this strong woman, I had a hard time reconciling her demise.
It made me angry because she was always the one I went to for everything. I was chatting with my daughter and said that I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if I became like Grandma.
Melissa sent me this article that she saw on Facebook a few days after our conversation. Even though I have posted this several years ago, I thought it worth sharing it with you again:
A LETTER FROM A MOTHER TO HER DAUGHTER
“My dear girl, the day you see I am getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all try to understand what I’m going through.
If when we talk, I repeat, the same think a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: ‘you said the same thing a minute ago’…Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.
When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a little girl?
When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way…remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day…the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.
If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand, the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.
When those days come, don’t feel sad…just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I will cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you. I just want to say, I love you…my darling daughter.”
Since I last posted this letter in 2012, my Mom has gotten so much worse. Thank goodness for the wonderful care she gets at her assisted living. She no longer can remember how to care for herself. She is now 96 and still beautiful and healthy except for her mind.
I cherish the time we had, the time I have now and I always want to think of myself as being kind and loving every moment I am with Mom. She is my Mother and will always be my best friend. I will always feel the gentleness of her touch and the warmth of her soul.
She taught me to always respect myself as a woman. That’s why it is easy to say we are WOMEN HELPING WOMEN.