She was my rock.
Steadfast and strong.
Now she's gone.
My best friend.
Her laughter was infectious.
Her smile would light up your face.
She left her footprints everywhere.
And she gave her love unconditionally.
She taught many through her teachings
of ABC's, 123's.
I miss her so much and just want to hold her hand one more time and walk the path shaped into a heart again.
She stood tall and with such grace.
She'll be an act that one can never follow,
for she was one-of-a-kind.
I'm blessed to call my Mother.
She left no debts to others.
She left ever lasting memories for our hearts.
I think my heart stopped beating when she took her last breath
because the pain is still there.
The walls are whispering to me.
The nights are unsettled in thought.
Where do I go from here after so many years?
She whispers from above, "One step at a time, the door is wide open."
A tear falls down my cheek.
It's time to rest and start my journey anew.
Embrace the starting over, begin again.
I miss you Mom.
Marilyn J. Carleton
October 23, 1931~February 9, 2011
I want to thank everyone here in the community for all your warm and encouraging words during my brief time as a caregiver. Yes, it's been 6+ years and I do view those years as brief.
I also want to thank Carol Bursack for her devotion and commitment to helping so many in situations that leave us troubled, worn down, frustrated and desperate in our lives as caregivers.
I will share with you my thoughts shortly after this event.
My precious Mother passed away on February 9, 2011 from complications of an illness, bacterial infection, that was short lived of 5 days. Just the week before this affliction she was vibrant and "healthy, wealthy and wise" would be her reponse when asked how she was doing. We, her children, are still a bit in shock of the vastness in quickness of the events of her passing. But as I reflect over the 6+ years of being a caregiver to not only her but my father-in-law during this time, I am beginning to see what it's all about for me.
What I have learned and experienced was patience, understanding, pure unconditional love.
I have learned what I can live without in my life and that I don't need material baggage or the best of this or that.
I have learned to cherish each moment and smile. Joys of the little things in life is what is most important to me now.
Her infectious laughter and giggles as we held each others hand to walk. Singing out songs in the middle of meals and clapping our hands at a moment's notice. Sharing milkshakes in the middle of the night because that would be all she could eat or wanted to eat.
Did I struggle? Did I cry? Did I want to give up? Yes, YES. YES! but I didn't, because I wouldn't, because my Mother couldn't.
Do I have guilt of choices I made for her? Yes, at times, but I know I did the best I could at the time those choices had to be made in the time span I was given for her well being.
Where do I go from here? Is my role as a caregiver over? Now what? Well, I don't know where I'm going, but I hope I will use the lessons I have learned to be better at helping others. I don't believe my role as a caregiver will ever be over. I'm just resting at the moment to be prepared for the next family member or neighbor or friend who may be in need of my help.
So for now, I will gather up my reflections of the past experiences and use this time to explore and find ways to live out my life, but I'm not sure it will be as meaningful as taking care of my own parents.
I hope and pray and support the Alzheimer's Association in finding a cure for this affliction. I pray for those who are in the same place I once lived. May they all find peace of mind and strength to bear each day and find moments of joy and happiness to fill up their darkest hours.
May you gather up the colors of your life and weave them into rainbows for your heart.