I wrote this piece for the AFTD (The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration) Words of Encouragement Newsletter and am grateful for the opportunity to share our journey with dementia with their community.
Over forty years ago, I made my mom a mother for the very first time. After that, she went on to have four more children. I can say with certainty that her kids were her greatest joy and accomplishment in life. Even if the seemingly endless responsibilities of raising us felt impossible at times, she never complained and never wavered. I’m also not sure if she ever slept –how could you when you were busy with the demands of raising five kids? And yet, she had a way of making it look effortless because to her it was. She adored being our mom.
People gravitated to my mom and her larger-than-life personality. She took pride in caring for others. She was a giver and a food-pusher – feeding people brought her great joy. She always said that she cooked with “L-U-V, love.” Mom’s favorite times were spent with everyone together, eating the food she’d prepared, laughing, and just being present as a family. I will forever cherish my memories with her – one of my favorites is of us sitting outside on our porch swing, talking while a thunderstorm rolled in. The cool air urged us to scoot a little closer together, and the wine-infused our stories with a little extra humor.
I’m so lucky to have her as my mom.
This month, we honor all of our moms. For my family, it was bittersweet: our first Mother’s Day without her. The wound of losing her to FTD is fresh and it still stings, but I also can’t help but feel a great sense of hope and relief. The spring season is a time of rebirth and fresh starts. I will continue to honor my beautiful mom’s memory by sharing the moments our family experienced together when she was well, like coffee by candlelight or sitting by a roaring fire while her favorite movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, played. She loved her wonderful life.
Hug your mom.