As we near my Mom’s birthday, she would have been 85 this week of July 18, 2010. we also near the anniversary of her passing only weeks prior to her birthday. As I write this, my thoughts are more and more about her and those sad days three years ago.
((This article was written in 2010))
I’ll never forget a few weeks before the end, when my brother and I sat in her hospital room and waited as she was wheeled away for more tests. In a subdued voice, as though he didn’t really want to know, my brother asked, “Does she remember you?” I could tell from the slight dampness in his eye that he prayed I would say No. My brother worked long,hard hours and was devastated by Mom’s worsening mental state. I knew that. I knew he could barely handle the knowledge of her suffering, much less see it on a daily basis. His visits with her became more and more limited, yet he suffered the price as well. She seldom recognized anyone anymore.
On this day. we sat in Mom’s room at the hospital. Her breathing had grown shallow and she’d been plagued by a deep, dry cough. A slight bout with the flu, we all surmised, but her doctor ordered tests to make a correct diagnosis.
My brother looked tired and sad. He was 3 years younger than me, yet for all our lives I’d felt like he was older. Mom had quite obviously NOT known him when he arrived a few hours earlier. She argued that he was her older brother who lived in Oklahoma come to visit. “No,” I argued with her. “He’s your son, Mom. Your firstborn son.”
“No.” I was brought back to the present and felt the need to reassure my brother. “No, I don’t think she does.” Mom called me by name, as though she knew me–but I knew she did not. I could see it in her eyes. I’m someone who takes care of her and for that she is grateful. She looks at me with gracious gratitude, but not a mother’s love.
I’m too old to be her daughter now. She often asks my age and is incredulous. In her mind–I’m a much older woman than she. Mom is young again, she no longer recognizes the woman in the mirror who follows her around all day. Now, she pines for her own mother…long into the night she cries and wails, afflicted with Sundowners. She wants to “Go Home” to her own mother who is waiting for her.
“No,” I tell my brother and I see his moment of sadness mixed with a deep sigh of relief, a release from guilt that he visits too seldom.
“She doesn’t know me either.”
If you’re grieving or suffering through a loss, this book may help you as it did me. Like a road-map, it offers a step by step guide to what grieving and mourning is all about and how to work through the process.
A Review from Publishers Weekly
Many readers will rightly welcome psychologist’s Neeld’s seven-stage, step-by-step guide to mourning and recovery, accompanied by a description of phases necessary to complete the “grieving process.” Based on the author’s own experience and that of 60 others, the program requires the mourner to knowingly choose to undergo each stage as it occurs.
The book also discusses with compassion physical and emotional traumas to expect and offers sound advice on how to adjust to change and form new life patterns and human bonds.