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Mom's Thanksgiving Gift

 

 

Hello there fellow caregivers (care partners),

I know it has been a long time, since I have written to you in this blog I started oh so many years ago; this blog designed to fight against the dementia that steals my beautiful mom bit by bit while leaving her body intact. Sorry for my absence, it feels kind of good to be back.

Seven years ago, when I began this blog back in 2011, I couldn’t stop writing, sharing resources, reading everything I could and passing it along.  I was compelled to begin this blog. It wasn’t a hobby – it was a compulsion. (My husband described it once as that time I was trying to save the whole world). I guess it was my way of processing, of grieving and of trying to find my way back to the center again and make a little sense out of the tragedy unfolding.  I also wanted to help people so they have to go through some of the difficulties we experienced as a family – mostly just because we didn’t know what to do or where to find help.

It is hard to imagine that right about this time seven years ago, my mother began unraveling. I am sorry that none of us knew what was happening. I am sorry that none of us knew what to do.

But, then one day a little more than a year ago, it became more and more difficult to write!  Many times over the last year I sat down at the computer with an idea, a concept that would be worth sharing and I couldn’t bring myself to type it. I just felt so tired. It was as if I had lost my ability to form the words to describe what I was feeling.

Recently however, it occurred to me that I began losing my voice around the same time that my mother began to lose her ability to communicate verbally with me. . . perhaps without her voice in my head – there were no words to write…but today for the first time in a long time, I feel like writing. So, here I am.

So, I guess if I was describe what I feel and where I am at as my mother’s caregiver today is:

The number one go-to-emotion I wrestle with on a regular basis is GUILT. I feel guilty most of the time. I feel guilty for not making enough time for my mom. As a busy mother and grandmother who works full time, I do not have the time to spend or the capacity to do the fun and creative things with Mom that she deserves. I hold her hand, I try to engage the person within, but I am usually left with the overwhelming sense that I do not ever do "enough”. Sound familiar?  To make matters worse, this guilt drains our motivation to visit even more, making it harder than ever.

This Thanksgiving weekend (for example) despite my children and family all being home, in the happy chaos of hosting it all, we never got to visit my mother. On Monday, after delivering family members to their train and tidying it all up, I ended the day on my couch in track pants the thought resonating in the back of my mind, "Mom didn’t get a Thanksgiving this year” followed by "I suck as a daughter.” This is the challenge common to all caregivers. We didn’t want this disease to slowly chip away and dissolve the personalities of those we love. We never wanted them to have to live alone, apart from family in a long term care home. We feel sad because it is sad.  Yet, guilt is something we need to manage and to wrap our heads around so it doesn’t take us under. Even after seven years, I am working on it. 

 My second emotion would be CONCERN. This one isn’t too bad. It has watered itself down from panic, exhaustion, worry and regret. Although I admit I still wrestle with guilt, I have the great contentment of knowing mom lives in a long term care home that is intimate and loving, a place where her care is good, her food is good and people who know what she likes provide her activities to do.  I know she is safe and even in her diminished state, she is content.

 So, what am I concerned about? Firstly, the most obvious one – that someday she will die. What will that be like? Will it be soon or will it be years from now? Will it be difficult or simple? Will I be there when it happens? (And the list goes on.) Secondly,  I become concerned when she is sick or distressed – whether it is from a fall, a seizure (a newer development that occurs from time to time), when she develops and illness or develops a delirium, when she loses weight, when she stopped talking, walking and feeding herself or just seems sad and distant.  These things used to weigh me down, keep me awake at night – now they are just the background noise of my life. We cross these bridges as they come. This is our life now. It is what we do and I am "ok” with it. I guess that is what being my mother’s caregiver really is all about.

While It might seem a little contrived, my final key emotion is definitely LOVE. I miss the woman my mother was. I miss being mothered and "cared for” and I so totally adore her! I love this woman I get to hold hands with and on a good day even share a laugh with.  I am grateful that at times I still get to see a glimpse of the mother and person she used to be –  through the sparkle in her eye, the tap of her foot, the squeeze of her hand or her mischievous grin.

 Even when she forgets it all, I have never forgotten her and I never will.  Maybe this is the best Thanksgiving gift I have to offer mom this year.

 Be encouraged!

~Sharon

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Missing Mom

 

How do you miss someone who is still here?

The answer to that question is Dementia. It is what makes me miss my mom even though I sat with her this very afternoon. Even though we smiled and joked. Even though just today we held hands, hugged and looked at family pictures while snuggling on her love-seat - even still I miss her.

Recently, on my Facebook page, I shared a scenario you might be familiar with. You may have come across the questionnaire that asks: "If you could choose to spend an hour with any person, living or dead, who would that person be?" I used to imagine the historic figures, famous authors or celebrities I would love to share that time with. But not any more. Now, I always wish that imaginary hour or afternoon could be spend with "pre-dementia" Mom! Here's why I would love it:

1. I would love to hear her speak in complete sentences. Mom was such a gifted speaker, communicator and story teller. Whether it was children or adults, she had a way of communicating a message. To lose your very ability to communicate your feelings and observations - that's just crappy!

2. I would love to see her eyes sparkle - I mean REALLY sparkle with recognition when she sees me and my family members. On good days I see it a bit, but as the disease progresses I have to really dig for it. Today she didn't seem to know who I was at first.

3. I would love to be the daughter. It took several years of Mom being sick for me to stop reaching for the phone when I wanted my MOM.  Still many times I wish I had her to bounce an idea off of, share a memory, say a prayer with, ask her advise or just make me feel little again. I miss that. :)

4. I would love to play a game of rummy with her. 

5. I would love to hear her laugh - REALLY laugh.

6. I would love to hear her sing. Not that she was a fantastic singer - in fact she wasn't really - but still she sang: old hymns of the faith, gospel choruses, children's songs and Bible school tunes. I am forgetting them as I have no one to share them with. Singing now is one way we can connect, but the link is weak. I'd love to hear her sing to me again.

7. I would love to SEE her again - not the Mom who can't remember, the mom who won't let me wipe the pudding stains of her face, the Mom who is thick with medications or the Mom who sometimes hits people and can be unpredictable. I mean the funny, sensitive, discerning, spiritual and loving widow, mother, teacher and friend.

There is some solace I guess in knowing I am blessed to have had a mother who was all these things. I am even blessed to have a mother who still holds my hand and smiles at my stories. For this I am grateful. However, I miss my mom...

Even though she is here.

 


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Dementia Lessons

 

You wouldn’t know from my silence that for the entire year of 2015, Dementia and Alzheimer’s has dominated my thoughts. I haven’t forgotten or grown tired of the topic – No, it is what I have talked about, read about, advocated for and thought about as I tried to fall asleep.

For over two years, I have had the privilege of taking part in a project that allowed me to meet hundreds of people across South Eastern Ontario and hear their "lived experiences” as they lived with or supported someone living with dementia or similar diagnoses.

Oddly enough, the energy, passion and purpose that went into this venture – seems to have left me speechless when it comes to writing about my own mother’s dementia story. Instead it is as if all the experiences have rolled up into one large story that cannot be separated. Even now as I write, I am not sure where things begin and where they end.

Like all difficulties we are forced to face in life, trials are great teachers and Dementia has taught me several lessons – Lessons from Losses and Lessons of Hope.

 Lessons from the Losses:

No one could have prepared me for the sadness, the repetitive losses and the heart break that comes with this disease. This is not the "senility” we joked unknowingly about as children. This is not something "cute” that old people go through.

 No one could have prepared me for the stories of spouses who woke in the night, filled with terror, finding their loved one gone from their homes on a blustering January night -only to be found wandering down the middle of a highway lost and disoriented.

No one could have prepared me for how difficult and chaotic it is for older adults to find help, services and advice as the people they love begin to fall apart under the weight of memory loss and confusion. I knew from our own story that we felt frightened, in need of help and confused about how to find it – but I could not have even fathomed the amount of people that begin and end their days asking themselves, "What Are We Going to Do?”

No one could have prepared me for the gentleman who wished the love of his entire life a "Happy 60th Anniversary” only to be met with the crushing reply: "Are we married?”

No one could have prepared me for the stories of responsive behaviours that lead to violence, threats and accusations as some of the gentlest souls are now over taken by aggression or locked up in anxious and fearful thoughts. No one could have told me what it would feel like to receive a phone call that my mother has hit someone.

No one could have prepared me to watch my mother lose more and more little pieces of her true self, her ability to communicate, write her name, read a book, recognize her grandchildren or even remember my name.

And yet…in all this sadness, tragedy and loss – there have been lessons of hope and beauty.

Lessons of Hope

It turns out the beauty is in the people.

I have witnessed husbands, wives, friends and adult children who have endured more chaos, pain and loss than I could even imagine, and yet each day they rise, they love, serving as caregivers and advocates - and still find time to reach out to others who are hurting.

Despite the gaps, the organizational issues and the shortage of funds, I have seen wonderful, amazing paid and volunteer staff serve with excellence and compassion in long term care homes, adult day programs, hospitals and doctor’s offices. More than once in this journey, I have wept in the arms of someone who was being paid to care for my mother – and felt real empathy and concern.

I have watched men and women rally together in support groups, church groups or neighbourhoods lifting each other’s burdens, sharing tips and resources. I have been reminded that people are good, that most people (not just some people) DO care! I too have experienced community from people who started out as strangers – but through the sharing of our lived experiences have found peace of mind and friendship.

But, most of all, I have seen acts of selflessness, faithfulness and loyalty from people that made me want to be a better person.

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Mom's Good Day

It's hard to believe that over five years have passed since my mom last sat with her legs dangling in our pool, laughing and visiting with our family - enjoying the barbecue, the warm summer weather and the drives to the lake.

In some ways it just seems like yesterday that she stayed with us that August visit and in other ways it feels like an eternity ago. I guess I hold onto that memory since it was the last time I recall spending time with mom before she began to shed layer upon layer of her true self.

I apologize for neglecting this poor blog lately, but unlike the early days of her dementia, there really isn't much to say. Our relationship has settled down to Mom slowly fading away and me looking for opportunities to connect - to share our love for one another, provide her with some comfort and see her smile.

The last few months those connections have not been so good. There were a few falls that she just didn't bounce back from, a stomach flu and an infection that took that punch out of her. Most of our visits (which I confess have been less frequent than I would like) have been either me watching Mom sleep or with her being very distracted and distant. Let's be honest, don't these kind of visits take the punch out of us too?

This Saturday it took a whole lot of self talk and pushing myself to go and see her. But to my surprise, I caught her on a good day;  a "smiley- alert -remembering and speaking more clearly than normal - saying my name- saying I love you"- kind of day. And you know what? It almost felt like a little miracle.

I embrace these days because I don't know when another one will come by. I cherish them because I know they will be few and I feel blessed and grateful because I got to "see" a little bit of the Mom that still remains. That's all that I can do. :)

~Sharon

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A Reluctant Visitor

 

 

It is one of those days- we all have them. Today I am going to visit Mom.

I was going to go this morning, right around 10am when she'd be finished her breakfast so it wouldn't interfere with the exercise class she attends on her better days. But 10 o'clock came and went and now it is after 12 noon and I still haven't put my coat on.

A sense of sadness is hanging over me today. The last few weeks our visits haven't been good. There haven't been those little jewels of connection, those moments where I still can see the twinkle in her eye and know that she is still in there. Instead she has either been frantic and paranoid or distant and mumbling. I find myself throwing in that extra load of laundry, checking my email one last time, wrestling with the dread that has settled in my bones. 

"Today I don't want to visit my mom." 

What a horrible thing to say, to think, to write -but it is true. I swallow a little guilt. It doesn't mean I don't love my mom. It doesn't even mean I wont go - I will. But some days it is difficult to muster up the smile when all we see is sorrow.

We all have days like this and that is ok

On days like these I remember with clarity my mother's words a few years back as we stood in an antique shop down the street from her home. It was during one of those "If something ever happens to Dad" talks. We were chatting about the idea of Mom coming to live with us. "We all get along, you could help us and we could help you - it just makes sense." I said. With that prophetic-mother look in her eyes she said calmly, "You don't know what you are saying. As people get older they get less fun. I may not be the person I am today."

Those words are ringing inside me today. She knew. She had lived long enough, watched her parents and others long enough to know what I know today. Life is fragile. She also knew that every day was a sacred. She knew that there were no guarantees and that was ok with her. That day year's back, she wanted to enjoy my company, to window shop and laugh - not plan for future days that may never come.

So after I post this I will finish my lunch, get on my coat and share this sacred day with mom. Maybe, just maybe, I'll see the twinkle.

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Becoming Mother

It’s been a long time since I’ve been really mothered.

If only I could go back in time to my fifteen year-old self and let her know how much I was going to miss it.  Hmm…what would I have done differently? That’s the thing about dementia and diagnoses like it, at a certain point adult children and even spouses switch hats and move from "the cared for” to "the carer”.

 I was thinking about this on Valentine’s Day of this year. My husband and I were babysitting our granddaughter and brought her in for a visit with my mom. Watching my mom and baby Grace connect through smiles and cooing and physical touch was such a beautiful thing to see. There was no need for language or short term memory – it was just a great grandmother and her great granddaughter sharing a few moments. So precious! Watching mom in this "mothering” mode, reminded me of how long it has been since I have felt like the daughter instead of the mother.

 Looking back, I remember the first moment I felt our roles begin to shift. Years ago, before my father passed away, Dad had suffered a heart attack. We all rushed to the hospital to visit. After a brief visit with Dad, we were led to a waiting area for some information from the doctor. I was feeling small and frightened. Mom was sitting on the arm of the couch. Needing to be comforted, I slid onto the sofa beside her attempting to find her arm around my shoulder, but before I knew it, Mom slid down onto the couch into my embrace. It hit me our roles were changing. I was moving from comforted to comforter – from daughter to mother.

Sometimes I would love to be the daughter again.

Even now after five years, it still crosses my mind to pick up the phone to share good news with Mom when it happens. I still pause and remember – "Oh ya, that can’t happen anymore.” When I am worried, when I need some perspective or when I am just feeling small and vulnerable, how great it would be to hear her say, "You’re doing great! It’s going to be ok. Everything will work out. I’m praying for you. I am proud of you….and ….I love you.” I miss that! I think for me that is the biggest loss I experience because of this disease.

Yet, even still, it is an honour to be a comforter. It is a role I willingly accept and would do again if needed.  Fortunately, many substitute mothers have found their way into my lives. I am blessed to have some very special women who encourage, embrace and mother me a little! I doubt they even know how much they mean to me.

At the end of our last visit, as I rose to leave mom, I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek and said, "I love you Mom!” "I know you do,” she said with a big grin. "I know you do!”

I had to smile as I walked away thinking: "I know you do too Mom!”

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A Visitor's Guide

 

 Whether it is a parent, and old friend or a spouse, visiting someone you love with dementia can be difficult. People don't know what to say or do. They feel uncertain and embarrassed. Some people just disappear all together. The following tips for making visits easier comes from Ryleysforum. I'm sure you'll find her advice helpful. Enjoy!

Anyone who has visited someone in hospital or in a long term care setting can relate to the initial stress of visiting!  I feel like somewhat of an expert when it comes to visiting! (Considering on my first visit the words that were exchanged were: "You can just turn around and walk right back out!"

Even now after I have visited all day I often return home to phone calls saying "Where are you? You said you were coming here today!" Needless to say memorable or not, we soon both couldn't get enough of each other. 

 Visiting can be very traditional. You visit, you bring gifts! Gifts ARE lovely. Here are some suggestions:

  • a treat, (usually just enough to eat during the visit) you don't want to invite a tummy ache, unwanted illness or creatures.
  • a short story, Readers Digest, The Sears Catalogue,
  • a calendar with great photos
  • Flowers or a plant
  • a  journal and pen
  • a puzzle
  • Dominoes 

OR 

You could be somewhat unconventional and start a real conversation by bringing:

  • a photograph or two ( ideally from the past)
  • a newspaper clipping (controversial, or interesting)
  • fun and pretty stick and peel wall decals
  •  some recipe cards (make it your goal to ask for advice)
  • hand lotion (Try it right then and there)
  • Large type words to favourite songs or poems
  • a memory box of relevant items from the past, to initiate conversation (something job or hobby related like a small tool, screws, etc. or baking tools, baseball glove and ball, gardening tools.)
  • Magnifying glass and small box of items to observe
  • a tea set (to enjoy a proper tea time together)
  • a Guest book, for visitors to sign, or use as a journal
  • a large print list of well known jingles or proverbs. (The rain in Spain...)
  • variety of cards with self addressed stamped envelopes. You could file them by the month that the event happens in.
  • nail polish, manicure set  or temporary hair color Hi lites (enjoy your own private spa day)
  • a pet ( most LTC centres have easily met regulations regarding  bringing your own dog)
  • a gift of scents. (Did you know smell has the strongest and most direct connection to memory.) Some scents that evoke memories are: Microwave popcorn, cinnamon bun, clean pillowcase, Old Spice aftershave, perfumed sachets, candied fruit, fresh baked ginger cookies, sawdust! Maybe build or paint a birdhouse together.
  • If you come empty handed do not worry. The gift shop on the premises offers snacks, drinks and note paper, even ice cream! 

 If all else fails, chances are you will find your first conversation starter right at the door to the room!  Some Long term care homes have a glass showcase just outside the resident's room that will give you visual cues as to the person's interest. Start up a conversation based on the items in that case.  Someday ask for the key and together re decorate the items in it. There are no rules about what goes inside it.

 

Next, enter the room and look around, be somewhat snoopy, look for visual cues of interest. A knitting project, a picture of cats, a forgotten cup of tea can cause you to think of things to say. If the room doesn't provide enough articles for conversation then consider leaving the room. A new conversation abounds with a change of scenery. 

IF all else fails bring a real conversation starter with you. Good ones are children, neighbours, and friends. The best by far is a stranger! My sister brought a stranger once and the gossip never ended! 


 Ryleysforum

For more practical tips check out Alzheimer's Ideas That Help on Facebook, the link is https://www.facebook.com/Ryleysforum?ref=hl

 

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A Christmas Healing


Four years ago yesterday, I drove my confused, frightened and delirious mother to our local emergency hoping to for a simple cure for her strange behaviours and the sudden change in her personality. Mom never came back home to live with us again. As you know if you’ve read our story after a very rocky road, she settled into a wonderful long term care home in our town.

No other time of year do I feel the pain of this experience greater than at Christmas. It isn’t only that we lost the wholeness of my mother, her support, stories and presence, but also, we lost our foundation. The family home was sold, traditions were lost, memories could no longer be shared – in many ways I felt like Christmas as I had known it was lost too.

For four years, I have found Christmas a sad time – a time when the loss of my mom’s wholeness and the loss of other loved ones like my father and in-laws was so strong it made my heart ache. Putting up the Christmas tree was something that brought tears to my eyes. Buying Christmas presents and preparing for the family meal felt more like a chore than a joy.

But this year, I noticed the healing is happening. There is a little warmth and hope returning. It isn’t everything I want for Mom, but I can enjoy taking part in the parties at her long term care home without wishing and regretting she could be home with us. New traditions have replaced old ones, babies have been born – nieces and nephews and best of all a new grandbaby for me.

I guess my mom herself likely walked this journey when her own parents and loved ones passed on and she became the mother and not the daughter. She knew what I know today – that life goes on and even with all the changes there is still beauty to be discovered even in the pain.

Wherever you are in your journey, whether you are surrounded by the grief and loss, enjoying the moments or just beginning to see the light again, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Blessings,

Sharon

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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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Some Days

Some days, I can forget about the loss, beat back the longing to curl up beside my mommy and be the daughter and not the parent. Some days, when we visit we can just plain connect. One human to another. Yesterday was one of those visits. I arrived at the Long Term Care home to find Mom awake and alert. Since much of her conversational skills are gone, talking about any one topic for more than a sentence at a time is difficult. But yesterday, there was a book. The book on the table was three stories merged into one book with a scattering of drawings throughout. First it was pictures of lions and jungle animals, second of historical black and white photos of the Rockefeller family and finally drawings of people riding horses and carriages.  Since reading the book wasn't a practical option, we started making up our own stories - silly stories at that.

In that moment, I was able to find her, connect with her. It was nice. 

There are days, just like you, that I really wish this long journey could be over. I wish that Mom could be freed from this body bogged down by this horrible disease. But yesterday, I was grateful." No Mom, you can't remember your grandchildren, what you had for lunch or very much about me, we still can share the love of two people who share a beautiful history together. Even if one of them doesn't remember it.

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Less Expectations


A very lovely relative of mine makes the long drive several times a year to visit my Mom. I'm always happy to hear she is coming - even though I'm not usually there to participate. It feels so right to know people who really "know"ť the whole Mom are spending time with her, that she is remembered and not totally lost. Her emails and conversations with me before and after her visits are always so encouraging. After this time, she writes, "As always, I enjoyed the visit. And keep one thing in mind - it's much easier for me than for any of her children, since I come with no expectations, and no hurt if she doesn't know me or doesn't engage. I do fully "get" that piece!" 

She so nailed it! Even when we love them, even when the visits are going well, even when there is not a crisis, visiting is hard for children and spouses. It's why I seem to be able to finish every single dish in the sink, fold every towel in the dryer and reply to the most redundant email before I can get myself out the door to see her some days. (And some days are better than others as you know.) It hurts to see her live like this. It hurts to lose your mother a little more every day. No matter how deeply I bury them, mask them or rationalize them away, I too have expectations of my Mom. I so want to be known, engaged, loved, mothered and remembered. The loss lives every day under the surface, even when I don't acknowledge it. But, Mom and I do have good visits most of the time but the best ones happen when I too come with only one expectation and that is to make a connection.

Some days those connections are more complete than others. Some days that connection is full conversations, laughing, dancing and singing. Other days, it is simply the knowledge that we held hands and that possibly I was able to bring a little comfort and dignity to her on a difficult day. Those connections, no matter how difficult are a beautiful gift for which I am truly grateful.

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Amazing Grace

Dear Mom, Well, I just wanted to write to tell you that you became a great grandmother again. Little Grace came into the world on Mother's Day morning making me a grandmother for the first time and I am certain now I will never be the same! It makes me a little sad that I can't share this experience with you fully, I am not sure how many times I've told you my daughter (your grand daughter) is pregnant - lots anyways. At this point although you recognize my kids, you can't seem to make sense of who everyone is anymore...but that's ok. Still, though I am happy. Becoming a grandmother has made me remember things I had almost forgotten about you. As I come alongside and support my grown daughter, stories of you come flooding back. I remember how you loved, encouraged and took care of me and everything so I could just learn how to nurse the baby and get my confidence. You were a great mom to me. You are a great mom to me - even as you slip away. I am so thankful for you! Love you, Sharon xo   

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