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.
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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