I’m at the gym incline walking again. I feel like I do some of my best thinking here.
I have so much to say, and I don’t know where to start. Perhaps the best way is to just come out and say it. My Mother is dying.
Her battle with Alzheimer’s is finally coming to a close. It pains me to type that sentence. That another soul succumbs to such a horrible, wretched, disease. Not only just another soul, but it is my beautiful, accomplished, kind hearted Mother.
I aspire to be half the Mother she was. I notice nowadays parents severely struggling parenting 1 or 2 children, but my Mom had 4. My Aunt said last night how she would be breastfeeding one of us and holding another’s hand. She truly was Super Mom. 4 beautiful children, close in age, and each of us had several extra curricular activities. She never missed a pick up or drop off. She had this huge “At-A-Glance” calendar where she would use Crayola markers to color code each child with their respective activity or sport event.
She was our biggest cheerleader. She was at every single figure skating competition or test I had. I remember I was so excited when she allowed me to wear lipstick at one of my first competitions. I was probably 6 or 7 years old at the time.
She wanted nothing more than us to succeed, to be happy, and to treat others with genuine kindness.
She saw my talent for figure skating, and went to the lengths of open enrolling me into a specific elementary school that got out earlier, so I was able to make it to the more advanced ice time.
She encouraged me to go against the norm and learn how to snowboard. I was so excited to take private lessons with my cool older brother Eric at Buck Hill. I’ll always remember our vacation to Whistler, Canada. That was my first time to experience and snowboard real mountains. And damnit Mom, you spoiled me. It wasn’t very fun to go back to Afton or Buck Hill after that. Soon I realized Whistler is probably one of the nicest resorts in North America.
We had so much fun together. She used to dress me up in pink and make me a girly girl. I remember one year she made me a princess costume. Let me tell you, if I could wear that everyday I would have. She always made me feel so special. Not only did she make all our Halloween costumes, but she hand beaded every figure skating dress. She was incredibly accomplished in the world of sewing. She made me and Kate matching red peacoats and berets. I hope I still can find the first competition dress she made me. It was this beautiful ocean blue color, and she put a beaded bow on the back. It was super girly, her favorite color, and it made me feel so special that I had a one-of-a-kind dress, crafted by my very own Mother.
While we all can agree she wasn’t the best chef in the world, she certainly made up for it by the way she baked. I’m jealous Kate got the caramel recipe, and she perfected it. But that was my Mom. She went to the lengths of making several batches of these amazing, decadent, melt in your mouth caramels around Christmas time. I have fond memories of wrapping each caramel in its own little wax paper. Of course the wax paper had to be green or red, and then a handful or two caramels were placed in a decorative plastic bag, and a special gold foil twist tie closed the bag. She did this every year, and I could tell the joy it brought her, handing a bag to my skating coach, my teachers, her hair stylist, anyone she thought deserved them.
My Mom is probably one of the most kind individuals you’ll ever meet. She would often say, “The world could use a little more kindness”. That is definitely something that resonates in me. I always try to treat others with genuine kindness.
Let me now talk about the wretched monster of Alzheimer’s. There are very few things that can make me more angry than this disease. My mom was robbed of her life while she was in her prime. She was so proud she finally landed her dream job of being a research nurse at the U of M. She worked on diabetes clinical trails. I can’t imagine how she felt when she was told she couldn’t preform that job anymore from too many mistakes. I can’t imagine what she went through trying to understand why she was forgetting all the time.
I’ll never forget her shouting, “I’d rather die than live with this disease”. Mom, I can’t say who won this battle now, but I am so relieved that you are no longer living a life of misery and confusion.
You have taught me so much. You have shaped me into the woman I am today. You taught me to never settle, and to stand up for what I believe in. I have inhereted this relentless passion from you.
I am at a point in my life where I’m finally figuring out what I want, what drives me, and am chasing my dreams. I know you would be supporting, encouraging, and so incredibly proud of me.
I love you so much and always will. You legend lives on through the wonderful kids you have raised.