Thursday, December 30, 2010


Christmas has long been my favorite holiday. This year it was a bittersweet combination. A dear friends grandmother lay dying in Hospice, my own mother has once again entered into a "no eating" phase, but all balanced with the joyful presence of another dear friend who left the warm weather of southern Florida to shiver in the cold Northeast.

Holidays bring out the best and the worst in all of us. Truths are challenged, beliefs confirmed, friendships grow stronger and family can prove more elusive. My mothers gift to me this year was recognition. Christmas Eve afternoon, we spent three hours sitting and sharing our presence with each other. She told me she loved me and even asked about my husband name! I have no idea if she recognized me Christmas morning and that's the way it is.

I leave in two days time for my two week vacation. It was with a heavy heart that I said good by to my mother yesterday. Each separation between us, brings changes to her health and places her at further distance from her old life. I do not know what to expect upon my return but know that at the very least, we will meet again and she will know me for the first time.

This evening I attend the wake of a 104 year old grandmother who, until her sudden illness a week ago, was sharp as a tack and full of spirit. She lived and died on her own terms, something we should all hope to be able to do. Aren't we all on some journey or another? For all of us, my wish is for the wind at our backs, a bright moon to light the way and the warm hearts of those most dear, to keep us safe.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy New Year

Peace and Love to all for the New Year.
Cherish good memories.....hold tight to those you hold dear.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where You Are.......

Some days when visiting with my mom, my gaze catches her in a moment that brings back a memory of how she used to be. It feels like she's had AD so long that I can't always remember the old days.
Mostly now, I remember the onset and how I'd laugh things off, make excuses or get really angry with her. I remember picking her up for a noon time christening and she came to the door in a ballgown of sea foam green chiffon, rhinestones in her ears and drawn on green eyebrows. I decided that day to just go with it and so we did. A few eyebrows were raised upon her entrance, but in every other way that day, she was herself.
I didn't recognize the Alzheimer's when it first showed up. I regret the anger and harsh words.
She loved to laugh and loved a good joke. We traveled with friends a great deal while growing up and she would be the first up and last to bed. I was her partner in crime, staying up with her and visiting with friends to the wee hours, while my father snored peacefully back in the hotel room.
I catch glimpses of her from time to time. I try to no avail, to jog her memory about me. I worry that she will remember me on a day when I do not visit. I worry that she will feel lonely and abandoned. I imagine that I will be by her side when she dies, but know that circumstances don't always cooperate with the best laid plans. My luck, she will die the minute I step out to pee. My mother has always done things her way and on her own terms. I'm sure her death will be no different
I believe she's in there somewhere. I wait for the glimpses...I am very patient these days.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I had a girls weekend away this past week. Our excuse was a Christmas shopping and cheer filled two days. Always for me, it is about time spent in good company....good female company. Hey, what can I say..I'm an only child without a large extended family. It's the slumber party I never had. We are all daughters, and all but myself are mothers. One has already lost her mom to Alzheimer's, another lost her mom just a few months ago to cancer and the other two describe their living moms as feisty, strong, sometimes impossible, but always a clear presence in their lives.
Stories were shared about family traditions and Christmases past. A gaudy, festively decorated sweater was considered for one mom, but eventually good taste won out and it was left on the rack. I found myself not talking a whole lot about my mom. What to say? The story really doesn't change from one day to the next. I saw items in the stores, decorations in the windows and gaily festooned hats that my mother would have loved. In another time and day, we would have donned those hats and laughed ourselves silly. I think a lot about Christmas past and what it meant to be part of my family. We would gather on Christmas Eve, just the three of us, around the tree at midnight. Wishes to each other were shared and thanks were given that we were together. Morning would bring the traditional chicken pie breakfast, a full stocking and more thanks for all that we received.
I stopped to visit my mother on my way home from the weekend. I announce myself as her daughter Pam. She smiles, reaches for my hand and wants to know if I've seen her mother. We sit side by side for the next hour, holding hands in peaceful silence.....each of us a daughter, each of us looking for our mom.