I am often asked how my mom is doing... Some days are great and the conversation flows easily and she is completely herself, but then there are other days, days like today where words are forgotten, sentences do not come out right and spelling is the least of our concerns. She knows this is happening and she apologizes. “I have something to ask you, please don’t be upset with me. I think we talked about this before. When I am unable to make my own decisions who would do that? Can we talk about this when I visit? I love you so much, Jenny... I know my life will change and I more than anything want great memories of Avery and Graham of our times together. I feel you are frightened too Jenny, don’t be I’m ok for now and will go day by day and month by month.” Every time we speak I assure her that it is ok and I will never leave her, we are in this together. Always.
The challenges that we are facing also bring reminders of several important truths that I often forget in my fast-paced life. The truth is that if we are willing to listen and watch, we can learn many things from my amazing mom. These reminders from her can serve as gifts to all of us as they help enrich our lives. I am learning so much, sometimes from one month to the next, other times from one minute to the next...
• Actions are more effective than words. The truth is that in much of life, it is what we do that carries more weight than what we say.
• Music is powerful. When The Beatles come on, she sings the words and reflects on that time in her life. She smiles, a real genuine smile, while I hide my tears.
• My children are her medicine. Avery, Graham and my mom benefit from their interactions. Her biggest fear is forgetting them and I am committed to helping her every step of the way with pictures, videos and visits. Research shows that relationships that develop across generations can increase cognitive activity and improve quality of life.
• Why stress over the little things? The truth is that we often get ourselves so upset over things that do not really matter in the long run. Sometimes, it is very easy to lose perspective on what is actually important. I am guilty of this - a lot! The goal is to breathe and keep moving, even if it is at a slow pace.
• Live in the present. The truth is that we all would be wise to follow my mom’s lead by spending more of our time and energy making memories and living in the moment. Do not miss the gift of living today.
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