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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I Remember Mama by Marianne Stephens

I Remember Mama was the  title of an old TV show in the 50's. And yes, I know that Mother's Day has passed. But that doesn't stop people from remembering their mothers.

I miss my mother every single day. I find myself thinking, "What would mom think about this?"

Mom lived with us for 10 years. We created an apartment in our home for her. Things went well until Dementia took over. Suddenly I had a mother I didn't recognize; one who swore, couldn't remember anything.

With tons of guilty feelings, we put mom in a nursing home dedicated to helping those with dementia and Alzheimers She got great care, but I still felt guilty.

I can laugh now at some of the things she did as dementia took over:
Talking on the phone to a cousin - without a phone. I told her to hang up so we could talk.
Watching a Christmas parade outside her summer while she looked at a parking lot.
Telling me "You lied to me. It's not April. Shut up and drive." I'd gone to get her for a home visit for Thanksgiving. We weren't even out of the parking lot. That was the last time I tried to bring her home. 
Telling me that my brother lived in the nursing home basement and was chasing the nurses. Boy, was she angry at him! And, his band played at the nursing home...and my then 3 year-old grandson sang with the band - in Italian.

It was sad to see her fade away. On my birthday in 2015, she held a stuffed bear wrapped in a blanket and called it her baby. I had to hold it so she would eat lunch.

There were lucid episodes, and I am grateful for those. She loved music and I'd dance with her when a band came and played songs from the 40's and 50's. 

After she passed away in Jan. 2016, my brother, sister, and I went through some of her things at my house. Tucked away in an envelope we found three for each of us. They all began the same:

These had been written long before dementia kicked in. How special she made each of us feel.
On her headstone at the cemetery, we wrote "Favorite Mother".

Yes, I remember mama for so many reasons!

What is your fondest memory of your mom/stepmom/godmother/any woman who helped raise you?



M. S. Spencer said...

My mother has been gone some 28 years now but she was a huge force in my life. She taught me, or rather, expected me, to try for anything I wanted to do, and to work hard for it. It never occurred to her--and consequently to me--that gender or color of skin or living conditions could deter you. One funny story. I was a goody two-shoes, terrified of getting in trouble. My mother, on the other hand, had been a hellion. I decided senior year in high school to skip a day (for the experience). Not only did it turn into a snow day so we would have gotten off anyway, but me, the teacher's pet, got caught. When I got home, my mother met me at the door. It took her all of 30 seconds before she cracked up. She spluttered, "I skipped all the time, but at least I never got caught!"

Janice Seagraves said...

This made me cry. I only have one parent left, my mom. We moved her in last year and I had already noticed she had started to forget things. She not even eighty yet.


Marianne Stephens said...

M.S. - Moms will always influence our lives, no matter how long they're gone. Skipping school?? And she didn't ground you? HA!

Janice - It's hard becoming a caretaker since we still look to our moms for comfort and answers. Mom will always be Mom, no matter what.

ELF said...

Life takes complicated twists and turns, but each experience, no matter how traumatic or painful, makes us the person we are. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your mom and for reminding us that we have all been special to someone who helped shape our lives.

Marianne Stephens said...

Thanks, ELF. Her notes to us made us each feel very special.

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