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A Lesson from my Mother

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I can't imagine how painful it must be for people who lose their mothers at a young age. I am so very grateful that mine is still thriving at 95 years of age. If you are lucky enough to have your mother live to a ripe old age you may experience another type of loss. Yes, I see the losses. She has always been very athletic. She used to exercise with Jack LaLanne before exercise became chic using soup cans as weights. Now, she uses a walker but she still bombs around with it. Her hearing is gone and frustratingly for us, she refuses to use her hearing aids. "I hear what I want to hear!, she retorts to our objections with the enthusiasm of any rebellious teenager. She no longer cooks for herself so both my sister and I have her to our homes for dinner twice a week. We make sure she goes home with plenty of leftovers to be used for future meals.She refuses to eat her veggies picking out the carrots and peas from the chicken pot pie with the skill of a brain surgeon. We have to monitor her to make sure she takes her meds and has something in her fridge that is healthy to eat. We know she has lots of snacks in her cupboards - cookies, candy just like a kid again! We work hard to keep her independent in her own condo because we know that is what she wants.

I think the biggest loss I see is in her cognition as dementia sets in. Sometimes she is so vacant in expression that I wonder where she has gone. Yet, other times, she is sharp as a tack, witty and clever like she was young again. She has lapses and like anyone else is aware of them. We recently took her on a road trip to see her 93 year old sister. It was a big drive from Vancouver, B.C. to Portland, Oregon but we were able to break it up so she could rest. She kept forgetting why or where we were going. The night before we left my sister carefully packed her suitcase with clothing. In the morning when she arrived to get mom she handed her the suitcase now empty to be put away. My sister, had to tell her again that we were going on a trip and repack her. The night before we left Portland my sister carefully had laid out her clothes for the next day and packed her other outfit. My mother kept unpacking the packed outfit and putting out the other one. This happened numerous times. My sister explained that she shouldn't unpack while we were packing. Well, my mother broke out into laughter. We all did! It was such a funny scene something out of a Laurel and Hardy movie watching my sister pack, my mom unpack, my sister pack, my mom unpack and on and on.

The lesson for me is that my mom has every reason to feel depressed that she isn't like she used to be but instead she sees the humour when things go wrong. If she can't remember something she just shrugs and says, "Well that was a long time ago, now wasn't it?" If one of her contemporaries passes away she is never sad and says, "Well they lived a long time an you can't live forever! I only hope that I can age with that grace and still find joy and laughter.
My mother is one amazing lady!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD13338702
    I enjoyed your stories of your mother. They are frustrating, endearing and funny. My Mom does really well with her advancing age and had handled the changes of environment well. She is very gregarious and experienced much anxiety after my father's death and anytime something went wrong...health or just life in general. She agreed to join me at my farm after helping me get set up for a couple of years and seeing that I was determined to make the situation work. Today as I watched her help bottle feed yet another lamb I know this is where she belongs.
    3073 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    Thank you for sharing! Your mom sounds like an amazing woman!

    I lost my dad @ 25 & my mom when I was 35. I tell people
    they are blessed to have them longer.

    Enjoy them while they are here.

    I still miss my mom the most.

    3075 days ago
    Thank you for sharing. I love the visual of the packing scenario and you all laughing..
    3075 days ago
  • 1EMMA2011
    My Mom has dementia too. I can really relate to your blog. I can just see you and your sister with your Mom. Wow what a lucky family to have each other and your Mom is leading the way with her witty insights!! At times it does seem like a lot to have my Mom stay independent, but it's worth it, isn't it Wendy!!

    3076 days ago
  • ANGGEL40
    Wondeful just wonderful..I am Bless to have my Mom and Granny..they are my world two of the strongest women that has taught me everything I know..your Mother reminds me of my Granny alot..and yes she is a handful and everyone in our family has her spoiled(and believe me I have a HUGE family)..I say give them their ROSES while they still live..just and old saying..Keep doing for your Mother and enjoy every moment..Thank you so much for sharing..I love it!

    God Bless,
    3076 days ago
    A very thoughtful blog! You are so right about being lucky still having your mother. I lost my mother when I was young and often wish we could have had more time to really know each other as adults.

    It is such a gift that your mom can not only laugh, but laugh at herself as well!

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful lesson!

    3076 days ago
    3076 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. My mom is about the same age and we see the differences too. It's hard to watch, but we're so grateful that we still have her. She hasn't had any dementia set in yet, but she does forget things. It's hard to be patient, but we do our best. She still lives in her own place too and we'll keep her there as long as she stays healthy.

    Your mom is very lucky to have you and your sister!!
    3076 days ago
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