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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Recent Visit with Mom

This past weekend I made the trek to upstate New York to visit my mother who is in a nursing home. Many faithful readers know that I've been making this trip several times a year since Mom's dementia and early-onset Alzheimer's Disease diagnosis in 2000 at the age of 58.

I've written before about a typical trip of flying 800 miles then driving over 3 hours only to be able to spend 30 minutes with the woman who brought me into this world. This time was no different except that I keep telling myself, "This will probably be the last trip."

Family and friends ask about her condition, knowing, as I do, that there will never be improvement.  In summary, Mom can no longer walk, no longer opens her eyes, and really doesn't speak save for the occasional mumbling of words. It appears that the involuntary functions are shutting down - basically her body is "forgetting" how to perform functions that you and I take for granted on a daily basis. It will only be a matter of time before the forgetting takes over her ability to breathe.

* * *

One can only hope for comfort and that she go quietly into that dark and peaceful night.  This is my constant prayer, my constant thought whether I am there by her side holding her hand or home here in Chicago. And I appreciate everyone's support both here at my blog, on Facebook and through countless emails.

It has been a tough summer for mothers among my social group - I can no longer count on one hand the number of strong, vibrant and life-changing women who have been lost to various ailments and circumstances.

One might say this is only natural as we get older, but I somehow refuse to accept that. I just think that those of us who have been on the receiving end of their love, their wisdom, and their influence have just reached a point where we can finally go out on our own. And we can now be the influencers, the teachers, the ones dispensing love.

Letting go is never easy and the timing is never on our terms. Yet, let go we must. For how can we receive the next bounty in our lives with an open hand when we are still hanging on to a person, place or thing that is ready to leave?


© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

29 comments:

Dorene from Ohio said...

Thomas, My thoughts are with you...

CMPointer said...

Oh, Thomas. So eloquently said. The truth doesn't make it any easier, though. Unfortunately. My own mother is only here in body, for her mind (and her heart)went with my father when he passed. I miss her. And some days ~those really bad ones~ when I'm busy "mothering", I just want to be "mothered". By my own mom. But you're right. We have to let go so we can embrace the future with both hands.


~Caroline

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

Thomas--
What a moving piece! Losing the one who knew you first is indeed painful. My prayers are with you as you continue the long good-bye to your dear mother. God Bless you.
-Angela-

Joan Miller said...

So beautifully said, Thomas. It is never easy. We lost a beloved aunt to Alzheimer's last week.

Michelle Goodrum said...

This is a very touching post. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to say such a long goodbye this way. Our prayers are with you and your family and we wish you all strength on this difficult journey.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Thomas - As others have said, this is a lovely, eloquent, and moving piece. Alzheimer's is a cruel disease. My mom died almost two years ago, and I still miss her every day. The only thing less fair than Alzheimer's is early onset Alzheimer's. My mom was "lucky" that she didn't show significant symptoms until she was in her early eighties. My thoughts are with you. Peace will come for her and for you. I know, I've been there...

Texicanwife said...

So beautifully spoken my friend! My thoughts and prayers are with you.
~Cyndi

Debbie Blanton McCoy said...

Beautiful. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Cindy said...

A beautiful post Thomas. Having lost my Father only 9 months ago today, I can certainly relate the letting go. While you're time has been many years of goodbye, mine was only a couple of months and it's never easily done. My heart goes out to you and thoughts & prayers are with you and your family.

Your Genetic Genealogist said...

So sorry, Thomas. We lost my dad to Parkinson's two years ago. Last night my little boy was crying because he still misses him. Saying goodbye to a family member is difficult under any circumstances and your journey in doing so sounds especially challenging. Thanks for sharing it with your readers and please feel our support and good thoughts sent your way.
CeCe

Jen said...

So beautifully written Thomas. My heart goes out to you. I will say some prayers for you all.

Carol said...

Every one has said it better than I can, so, I will just say, you know our travels of this past summer, with the dementia, and the passing. So, Man and I send prayers, hugs and a HUGE dose of fairy dust. May God be with you and her.

Cheri Hopkins aka You Go Girl #2 & Sweetwater Sherry said...

Love and prayers go out to you and your Mom. I went through this 10 years ago, the agony of becoming the care giver instead of being the daughter--one of life's hardest times to go through. As hard as it is now--it will get better for you both one day. God Bless you!

Myrt said...

Thank-you for being so open and able to share some of your feelings about your mom and how life is. Like you, I cannot count how many folks have been touched by the ill health or recent passing of beloved parents and very dear mentors.

We then are left to parent and mentor each other and the next generation.

My father has been gone 3 years ago next week. Now I understand why he always teared up when he spoke of his mother after her passing.

With friends and loved ones, and prayer, we get past the rough spots.

Thank heavens you have the tenderness of heart to feel and share.

Know that love and prayers are coming your way from many corners of the globe, for your influence is far reaching.

Your mom would be proud of who you have become.

As Angela said -- God Bless You, dear Thomas.

M

Linda McCauley said...

Thomas, Such a difficult subject but such a touching post.

Greta Koehl said...

Thomas, you are the type of son for which every mother prays, and I know that somewhere she senses your love. I was just thinking about and missing my mother these last few weeks, wishing that I could share my breakthroughs in researching her family - she would so love those stories! My prayers go out for you and your family.

Colleen said...

Very nicely said Thomas. You are as strong as your mother. Your strength and grace is very touching. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.

Bill West said...

I echo the earlier comments about the eloquence of this post, Thomas. We lost my Mom 11 years ago to cancer and my Dad died on Thanksgiving Day 25 years ago.
Both were gone in a stunningly swift few months after diagnosis. I miss them both so much.

You and your Mom are in my thoughts.

Susan Petersen said...

Very loving and beautiful post, Thomas. You've been in my thoughts all week and will continue to be there. Our loved ones are always in our hearts.

Astrid said...

Thomas... very nice and touching post. My thoughts are with you.

Kerry Scott said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. It's awful.

I'm thinking of you and your mom and hoping for peace for both of you.

GrannyPam said...

Thomas, I am thinking about you. You have written a beautiful piece about a difficult, personal situation. May God bless.

lindalee said...

Thomas my thoughts are with you. I lost my father to dementia several years ago.

Nancy said...

Thomas, Your sharing is greatly appreciated. Obviously, your mother instilled in you a strong sense of the value of relationships with family and friends. You are already a fantastic teacher. Thanks.
Nancy

Holly said...

It is tough to let go. I read what you are going through and remember. My mother had Alzheimer's also,then one day she didn't know who I was anymore. I am thinking alot but can't seem to put it all down. The wonderful memories of my mom are with me, and it helps...Hold on to your wonderful memories, and I will keep you and your mom in my thoughts, and prayers.

Nancy said...

Thomas, this was well said, even as it hurts to write or read it. Strength and peace to you and your mother.

Russ said...

Thomas,

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. As you are going through it, I just came to the end of a similar journey, on August 24th when my mother died. We last visited her the previous Saturday and she slept through the visit.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue this piece of your journey.

Russ

Michelle Robillard said...

Thomas you write so beautifully. I am so sorry to hear about your mother as I know first hand how hard it can be to let go of a parent. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

Michelle Robillard said...

Thomas your writing is beautiful. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.