There's No Place Like Home


There's No Place Like Home

I'm not sure when my mother died in her mind, but her body died on August 10, 2015, with my sister at her side after 24-hour hospice care for three days.

She was a living breathing advertisement for the benefits of Fosamax, passing from this life without a single broken bone at age 85, and her rugged little heart kept her going long after she and Elvis had left the building.

I was not there to experience that closure and I will have to imagine the scene for the rest of my life. After living with her almost every day for over two years, I was in Ohio with my husband that day, and she was in a temporary facility in Florida. I have yet to see her embalmed body, and I wonder what my reaction will be then? I had said good-bye to her so many times; stood in her doorway in the morning and watched for her breathing, the wiggle of a toe, a wheeze. Every time she faked me out ("Just kidding!") and stuck around another day.

I can't put my finger on when the scales tipped and she became less present than more, less my mother and more this weird littler woman I took care of. She seemed to decline sharply after our plane trip home from Ohio to Florida last October, as if by being in the clouds and so near to my dad and our dog, Sandy, she left the last functioning parts in Heaven and I got the remaining bits to deal with.

I had seen her pathetic physical and mental state for so long, so unlike her in her great years, so out of control, so self-absorbed and I prayed that it would be over. She would never have clung to this life, in this way. And now it's over, and today there is no part of me, not one buzzing atom, that is sad or sorry she is gone.

Yesterday my sister and I met with the funeral director to work on the arrangements and provide her clothes. I brought my mom's red shoes. No one will ever know she is wearing them except my sister and I and the funeral home staff. I want her to make the physical journey in the style she was accustomed to, and enjoy every minute in the place she came from, and now returns.


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Jan, my deepest condolences. Your mother is finally at peace and now you can be as well. Your posts have always had so much meaning for me; I hope you will continue to share your stories with us.


Jan, I send prayers of comfort to you and your family. I understand your comments_mysql of the red shoes. Doing those special things for the last time make closure so meaningful! My mother had her memory until her last moments at 86 years of age. I have a vivid, peaceful memory of my sister and me placing a small purse containing a lipstick and a small pocket comb of my dad's in her hands. She kept his comb in her makeup bag and she always felt dressed when she had on her lipstick. She passed away quickly but peacefully in the hospital bed with the physician's assistant telling her to put on her lipstick because the doctor was right behind her. The red shoes will give you extra comfort in the days ahead. Blessings to you and your family.


Jan, I wish you and your family peace... and joy in the ability to reconnect to the memories of your mom, pre-dementia. \n\nHow ironic, not to have been there after being with her 24/7 for the last years. (That happened with us too.) \n\nI understand the part about no sadness or not being sorry she is gone. I felt that way about my mom. I prayed my mom's suffering would end and her body would pass as her mind had long before. People would say, I'm so sorry for your loss... I and I would think, I'm glad her body finally left this world. It was past time. The grief does come, but I know you have been grieving your mom, in bits and pieces over the course of the past years. Grief and sadness probably will hit you in waves. For me it was bittersweet, and the memories of her strong healthy self began to replace all the awful memories of dementia.\n\nHugs and Peace, my friend.


Jan, your posts always touched me. You took time out of your life to make sure your mother was safe and cared for. I know you remember your mother as she was before she traveled down the road into dementia and those memories will comfort you as you move forward. I took such comfort when I saw my mother's face after she passed away. All the pain of her last year was gone and I remember thinking; \"There she is, I remember what she looked like, before the ravages of her illnesses, she looks at peace.\" I can only hope you find the same comfort.


Dear Jan, Thank you for sharing your story and your mom with us. I like that you are not sad nor sorry that she is gone. What peace and comfort you provided her as you sacrificed so much in your Ohio - Florida travels! I feel privileged to have read your blogs and gotten to know your caregiving story. May your family take comfort in the service for your Mom and may you know that you earned the words, Well, done, good and faithful servant! You certainly have served your mom well! (love the red shoes!)

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