The Pleasure of Remembering | Blog | My Mothers' Caregiver
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The Pleasure of Remembering

 

I try my best to write from a positive lens. Everyone in this room knows that aging, sickness, dementia and loss is rotten. It doesn’t seem helpful for me to state the obvious. So, as best as I can, I attempt to find and share my observations from a place of hope.

That might be why there are gaps in between my writings. Sometimes it is difficult to find the hope in Mom’s dementia. As we come around the corner to Canadian Thanksgiving, sometimes it is difficult to FEEL thankful.

While my mother’s capacity has diminished, for the most part as she carries on she is content. She smiles and enjoys the people in the LTC home, she enjoys music, exercise, baking, dancing, church services and Bible studies, joking with the staff and visiting with family. She lives safe and warm in her big bright private room and yet so much of her is gone. I miss those parts of Mom so much.

In John Green’s book, The Fault in Our Stars, (without spoiling the ending) one of the characters in the book reflects on what it feels like to lose someone you love by stating, "The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and less important than they had been before.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

The loss of Mom’s memories is also the loss of mine. Not a single person in the entire planet shares the memories that I share with Mom. She was there when I was born weeks early at 3 lbs 4 ounces and placed in an incubator. She was behind the camera as I got on the bus for Kindergarten and rocked me in the green chair when that mean girl on the school bus slapped me in the ear. She was my biggest champion for years, my confident and friend and the voice in my head. So many times I struggle to recollect a memory or think to share something about a person only we both know – only to realize I have lost the pleasure to remember with Mom – as if the moment never was.

Last week, when I visited Mom was a little edgy and impatient with me. She was hard to find and I found myself too tired to really look for her. But some days, I get a gift.

Two weeks ago, my favourite smiling-red-head-singing, Bible-preaching-volunteer was at the nursing home leading a Bible study and sing-song.  The songs she was singing so joyfully were right out of Mom and my past. Praise choruses written in the 70’s and 80’s and old beloved hymns that transported me to the days Mom and Dad pastored the Monkton Pentecostal Church.

 For just those few moments we were transported. Mom sang every word of those long (for me) forgotten songs at the top of her voice, smiling…and co-remembering with me. The interaction so special I almost wanted to hold my breath…and then it was gone.

I am not a wonderful daughter. I get tired, impatient, sad and sometimes I even have to stay away. But, thankfully when I dust myself off and try again – I blessed and for just that moment I "see” her (the Mom who has gone away) ….and I remember who I am.

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