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730 Days Ago and Counting, My Mom Was Here With Me

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No, I’m not counting the days, seriously… I just have a calendar I literally cross off for every day I cannot do the simplest of things so many of us enjoy — chatting on the phone with Mom, enjoying a warm cup of coffee together and going to her favorite restaurant.

Seven hundred and thirty days ago and counting, my mom was here, right here with me. I took the role as the youngest child closest to my mom to become the sole caretaker once she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It was a role I gladly accepted since I was the child who spent the most time with her and had the ability to watch her with my home-based business.

My mom was independent eight of the 10 years, but as the disease progressed, I was faced with constant worry if she did not answer her phone or open the door when I rang the bell. Oftentimes she would respond that since she was retired, she had the liberty to sleep all day if she wanted. I so loved her defiant, prideful manner.

This is not about Alzheimer’s but instead about a beautiful, strong-willed Spanish woman I was lucky to call “Mom.” She had a beautiful spirit to overcome many hard times in her life and still enjoyed a fruitful retirement among family and friends. I feel blessed to have had such an amazing woman in my life that made me who I am today. She always had the right message to say just like Forrest Gump’s mom where I could relate and understand.

She was there after my diagnosis of endometriosis, my painful divorce and the sudden loss of my beloved dog. I always knew I could call her any time of the day and she’d be there. Her children were most important to her, and they gave her meaning.

As I glance at her photo now, I am flooded with memories, sometimes good, sometimes not so good of the short few years she lived with me. One can never truly feel the pain and the loss of their mother until she is gone. As I became her caretaker, I would recall what she had always repeatedly asked me to do. “Give her dignity” as the disease progressed, let her stay with me and not a strange place, and that is exactly what I did until the day she passed. I honored her like she had always honored me.

So as we go forth into another year to celebrate Mother’s Day, I wipe tears from my eyes and celebrate her, her life and her tremendous zest and passion. I will celebrate her by enjoying her favorite espresso and her favorite dish of Chinese food. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Thinkstock image by StockPhotosArt

Originally published: May 2, 2017
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