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a box of lifetime
Waiting for a cure
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:32 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 295

I found a box of my mom's stuff I hadn't seen before.  I left it alone until I finished sorting through boxes of my mom's clothes, dishes, and everyday knick-knacks.

Finally I sat down with the box.  First, I found a calendar my mom had kept from college dorm days. At 17, she moved 6 hours from home, to a dorm, to a college that had just recently begun admitting women.

I smiled as I read her notes, like, "going home today!"  and "turned down a date with R, had dinner with K" and "final history paper due today". 

Then, I found the letters.  Letters home, written by my mom to my grandma, that said "I miss you, thank you for being my parents."  and "I'm coming home Friday, just want to warn you, I got a bad grade on my midterm so I might be cranky" and "I'd like to come home for thanksgiving....the flight would cost $32...that's awfully expensive for a weekend, do you mind?"

There were letters from my grandma to my mom, "your dad got a promotion at work" and "dear, please be sure to visit the infirmary at school to be sure the head cold didn't go into an ear infection."

Such blessed normalcy.  I love these letters!  They remind me of my mom, and of the letters we exchanged when I went away to school.  

Then I found the notes.  My mom had to keep lots of notes when her own mom was struck with alzheimers.  There were the police visits (my grandma called the police on her neighbors, and eventually she wandered away from home on a day with inclement weather).  There was the geripsych eval, there were notes my mom asked a friend to keep about her interactions with my grandma.  they had to get a conservatorship because of difficult circumstances.

After my grandma died of Alz in 06, the friend who helped my mom by keeping notes and testifying at the conseratorship hearing died of Alz in '10, a year after her own sister died of alz.  Then my mom died of Alz this year, in Jan 2012.

ALL of the persons mentioned above had a relatively sudden onset of ALZ, and ALL of them experienced it shortly after surgeries.  I don't doubt the connection between inhaled anesthetics and plaque bonding!   

Anyway, below the ALZ notes were my mom's grammar school papers, from kindergarten coloring, to second grade cursive practice and spelling tests....

I've carefully placed all the papers back in to box for now, and nicknamed the box, "the lifetime box".

It's a beautiful and painful reminder that a "normal" life can be tragically changed to a life of confusion, pain, death, before you can wrap your head around it.  

My grandma died at 85, my mom died at 65.  I turn 40 this year and think a lot about how "normal" my mom's life felt for her at age 40.    

dutiful deb
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:18 PM
Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 1884

That brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it!


Waiting for a cure
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:01 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 295

Thank you for reading it, Deb, and for your kind response. 

Yesterday my boys, who had decided (ages 7 and 5) to not attend my mom's service, saw a group photo taken of family members and friends from church, and asked to see the recording of my mom's memorial.  I think watching it with them, although it brought healthy tears, made the feelings from finding the lifetime box "overflow" and I had to get it out somehow, and people here, sweet people like you, understand.

Poodle Mom
Posted: Friday, July 6, 2012 9:45 PM
Joined: 7/5/2012
Posts: 13

I've just joined this group, and I already know I will find comfort and support here.  Thank you for sharing your heart.  May God wrap you in His comforting arms.
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2012 1:14 AM
Joined: 7/2/2012
Posts: 153

Thank you so much for sharing that,  I am literally in tears, what a beautiful and touching story.
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2012 1:16 AM
Joined: 7/2/2012
Posts: 153

Poodle Mom,  Welcome to the boards,  I wish you didn't need to be here but I am really glad you found us,  there is a lot of comfort and support here,  check in often!
Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 7:58 AM
Joined: 12/30/2012
Posts: 3520

What a beautiful, well written tribute to your mom's life.  I am sorry for your loss and the observation about surgery and Alz. is interesting!