Recently, we celebrated the birth of our 10th grandchild into the family. We waited with great anticipation to meet him for the first time — what happened during that first visit was what I would call an awakening.
What is it about babies that make such a difference? Mom held, rocked, cooed with and loved on H for over an hour. She held him after his feeding and rocked him back to sleep. Earlier, I watched as Mom counted his fingers and toes and rubbed his head to feel the peach fuzz he has for hair. She held him as if she was a brand new mother — close and cuddled. She was very disappointed when it came time for H to go home. She didn’t want him to leave — and she let us all know with a few words about that.
During our bedtime routine a little later that evening — as Mom was finishing things up, we reviewed the day. In most instances, any review would bring a blank stare, but that evening, no. She remembered cuddling with the baby, his name and was pleased as punch at remembering the other 4 great grandchildren who had visited as well that afternoon and evening. The satisfaction and love on her face filled my heart with joy and a question as to what had happened to bring this lucidity to light?
Later that night, we awoke to Mom having a conversation in her bedroom. The “chat” lasted more than an hour. There would be a pause as if she was listening to her invisible friend or friends for that matter and then a flurry of words and laughter as she shared the day’s events. She was sharing her version of spending time with her newest great grandchild and she was looking forward to the promise of his return later that week.
Fast forward to Friday. Dinner held no interest. She wanted to hold the baby. She did and for an extended period of time. While she didn’t vocalize as much this visit, you could see the tenderness and love in every touch and gentle rocking as she held him.
We look forward to our next visit with H and the awakenings it will bring — even if it’s just a brief pause.
I think that after 10 months of being “home” I can finally say that we are “settled.” It’s been amazing to be back in the west and have the mountains in view every morning as the sun rises. There’s beauty in the sunrise and beauty in the sunset. I love the colors and the mountain as it transitions from season to season.
The leaves are changing color – and every time the wind blows, there’s a flurry of fluttering leaves that fall to the ground in every yard.
Alzheimer’s reminds me of the changing seasons. While Mom’s memory and physical being continue to fade, her smile and gentle spirit hasn’t faded. She enjoys conversation, but rarely joins in as the language that she once had command of becomes less available some days.
There are days, however, where she is outspoken, in command and can throw a few zingers out that are right there with the best of them. She laughs, smiles and even requests to watch certain old shows from days gone by with stars she remembers from long ago…
She gives me oodles of opportunities to serve and honor the mother/daughter relationship that continues to grow every day. We are continuing to find ways to communicate using language based on love and honoring the gifts she presented to us in our youth and we can now shower that same love and the treasured gifts on her in her aging.
Mom is settled — she is happy and thriving as best you can be at 84 and having Alzheimer’s. She no longer asks who sleeps in this room (hers) or is this my bed? She has her good days and thankfully, they are more numerous than the bad days. She enjoys our monthly family gathering time and marvels at how our extended family has grown – expanded beyond the grands into great grands.
Enjoy all the “settled” moments you can.
“Never forget the 9 most important words in a family:
“I love you.”
You are beautiful.”
“I am sorry”. H Jackson Brown Jr.
These are important keys to creating and solidifying relationships. Our large family is spread across several states and time zones. Our schedules don’t often jive and it’s hard to get together even for a phone call. I treasure those times when we do join for a family dinner in a home or at a restaurant, gather around a phone for a few minutes to “catch up” on the news – or even better with technology being what it is, using Skype® to conference with the kids, the folks, brothers and sisters.
While texting seems to be a great way to get messages back and forth — it seems to lose something. I really do like some “face” time and seeing who I am talking to and seeing how the grand-kids are growing and changing from week to week or month to month. We really do need to visit more frequently — HINT HINT!
And one more thing, I still treasure, is the old fashioned card or letter — although I don’t write many, I still enjoy sending a beautiful card and letter filled with a handwritten sentiment – and I hope the recipient enjoys the same.
“So with imagination, ingenuity and audacity, explore, discover,
change the world. And have fun while you’re at it. Always take time out to love and to live. You’re going to be busy, but never forget family and friends. ” Daniel S. Goldin
This one’s for you Becky! We’ll always remember you and miss you.