This entry will not be about my kids. It is entirely about me wallowing in sorrow over the loss of my mother. No, she is not dead, but she has become ill with dementia and today was the first day she did not recognize me. My “mommy” is gone. I suddenly have great empathy for those who have lost their parents. Because I did not have a great relationship with my dad, I was sad to see him pass away, but I did not feel the sadness I feel now. My mom used to come over and help me with my kids. She made me custard pudding, (my favorite.)
She has taken me and the children on many vacations and we had great fun! Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, London, and the Grand Canyon. She loved to travel and we were more than happy to keep her company. She liked to go to places where she could really experience a unique adventure. We stayed at a resort in Costa Rica where we were the only non-Costa Rican people there. NO ONE spoke English. We spent the week laughing hysterically at this “problem”. We ate Costa Rican food, (boiled turkey, roasted rabbit, and lots of great fruit.) She and Dinora took a white water rafting trip, level 4. My mother had always wanted to go white water rafting. She did not, however, know that she was going to get wet. There she was in her long pants, socks, sneakers, and sweatshirt, standing next to Dinora in her cute little bikini. Of course the raft flipped over a few times, and it was a good thing my mom had her life vest on because the weight of her clothing would have pulled her under and she would have drowned for sure! During our trip to Guatemala we stayed at out-of-the way places. At one place, they did not have electricity and no built in heat or hot water. We were given a “manservant” to keep our fire running and to heat hot water for a bath. And on our long trek up the mountain to get to Mayan Ruins, we were all exhausted. The guide said to watch out for jaguars which lived in the area. My mom, who was exhausted from the climb (at age 80) said “I almost with a jaguar would get me so that I could lay down.” In Belize, we went to a zoo that had chicken wire fencing around the animals and we almost lost pieces of Steven a few times when he reached his arm into the flimsy cages to pet the lion or the alligators. She came with us on the trip to London to settle Francis in at Cambridge University. We spent several days sightseeing. We ate pigeon.We ate pigeon and we had tea every day. My mother cherished the tea set. I bought it for her from the inn where we stayed. I told her it cost $25 (because she was always against spending money on “things”.) I actually paid $250 for it…One fear of mine came true…I have always had this fear of being poked in the eye with an umbrella, so I would never use an umbrella. During a double decker bus tour of London, we stopped at Buckingham Palace. As it was raining, my mother had an umbrella and I didn’t. Francis took a picture of us, and just as we said “Cheese”, my mom poked me in the eye with the umbrella. And I have a picture of it! My worst nightmare came true and I lived to tell about it.
My mom has the most beautiful insides of anyone I know. She was always upbeat, optimistic, encouraging and pleasant to everyone she met. She never ever had an unkind word to say about anyone. She always took the “high road”, and she has devoted her life to making life better for my brother, Curtis, who is developmentally delayed, legally blind, and totally deaf. She always felt guilty because he went to live in a group home. You could not convince her that he had a full and happy life living with 3 other guys. A great deal of her dementia has including her insisting she was going to take Curtis home to live with her.
She was my role model, my cheerleader, my friend, and she always took care of me. And now I have to take care myself. I know I am selfish, but I don’t like it very much! I feel so sad to see such a vibrant, bouncy, vivacious woman slowly slip away. I try to visit almost every day, even if she is “out of it” and I just sit there and rub her back or hold her hand. When I leave, I always hug her, kiss her, tell her I love her and that she’s the best mother in the world. She has always told me she loves me back. Not today. For the first time, she didn’t know who I was. I feel lonely. Scared. I miss my mommy…