When a Mother Dies
Three months after I started working at Hospicare my mother died of complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. I thought I would be prepared for her death. After all, I had been grieving the loss of her for years. It had been a while since she had recognized me and even longer since she had remembered a birthday or initiated contact. But I was not prepared.
A friend whose parent had died of dementia told me, after death, memories of the disease fade and recollections of the person as she was resurface. I was skeptical, but I have realized that my friend’s insight is true. Now that I’m not confronted by the stark reality of my mother’s Alzheimer’s, in my mind’s eye she is the younger, alert, capable and loving woman she always had been. That has eased the loss of her.
I have found comfort in small everyday things: wearing jewelry that was hers, making a favorite family recipe. On her birthday and the anniversary of her death, I wear her favorite color, blue. Mother’s Day is still tough for me. While she was alive I could still reach out and connect on some level. But now Mother’s Day is a hard-to-avoid reminder that I no longer have a mother. I have found ways to cope. Hospicare’s grief support group provided an outlet for my grief and let me know I’m not alone. And every May since my mother’s death I get blue hair extensions. Mom would probably have been horrified by them. But for me the extensions have become a fun way to remember her on Mother’s Day.