Goodbyes, Hello, and Love

The two hardest things to say in life are hello for the first time and goodbye for the last — Moira Rogers

300px-Love_heart_uidaodjsdsewI read the above quote this week and thought it a perfectly fitting expression. Several members of our caregiving family are dealing with the saying of goodbye and I know from past experience, this isn’t easy. My heart goes out to each and every one of you.  My only encouragement is to be gentle with yourself, to allow yourself the time to grieve and then the permission to feel better when its time.

I feel like I should say hello again because it’s been approximately a year since I last blogged here. During that time little has changed and everything has changed.

The short version, I’m a widower, single parent, and caregiver to my mom who has severe dementia and an adult daughter with special needs. Those are the parts which haven’t changed.

What has changed is that up until a couple of years ago I would have included my dad in the equation as well but he died at age 91 from his battle with dementia. In addition I’m in the midst of empty nesting with my children (all should be gone by summer) and I’m engaged to be remarried (spring).

Mom turns 88 next month and resides in an Alzheimer’s facility. Her journey is starting to mirror the decline experienced by my dad. She mostly no longer knows who I am, her mobility and verbal skills are significantly diminished, and with increasing frequency she feels threatened by me. It’s an odd experience when your mom cusses you out because she believes you’re a complete stranger invading her space. And then there are days like today…

Mom didn’t acknowledge who I was but she was upbeat and in a good mood during my visit. As I readied to depart I leaned in kissed her on the forehead. Mom smiled back and said, “I love you!” It was the first time in over a year that I had heard that from her.

It’s been said that we grieve because we love. If we didn’t love the person no longer with us, it wouldn’t hurt so much. It’s one of the greatest and final signs of our love. I’ve seen a lot of love here on recently. Before its time to grieve again, I wanted to add my own.

“I love you too, Mom!”

Leave a Reply

4 Comments on "Goodbyes, Hello, and Love"

Profile photo of Trish
Feb 17, 2014

Jo, It’s so good to hear from you! As usual, you are able to get to the heart of the matter with love and eloquence. Thank you for the update and CONGRATULATIONS!! I wish you well and wish the kids well also. Please let your fiance know that she is welcome here also but that she has to treat you right. :-) You deserve all the happiness in the world! Thank you for sharing your moments with us.

The Pear Lady
Feb 17, 2014

Making me cry with that post…I don’t know whether to hug or weep. Maybe both. 😀

Profile photo of Thedogmama
Feb 17, 2014

Hello Jo, what a beautiful post. Thank you for taking the time to reconnect and letting us “new guys” get to know you.

Profile photo of Denise
Feb 18, 2014

Ah, Jo, I am sooooo happy about your engagement! How wonderful for both of you. I have to be honest: I did shriek with delight when I read your news. :)

I’m also so glad for a good day with your mom. Sure, we do our best to keep the love it our heart but the miracle of hearing it again is amazing.

So glad you shared your good news with us. !!