My sweet Mother earned her angel wings this past Saturday following a long, grueling battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. There will be no more suffering; she is finally at peace. Now she is beautiful, free, and healthy, and we have a perfect guardian angel watching over us.
Something Spoke to Me
I’m grateful that my daughter and I were at her side right up to the moment she crossed over, and what an amazing experience that was. I can’t explain the feeling I had that morning, but it was a sense that I needed to be right there. I stepped out of the room for a few minutes, but something drew me back.
As I sat holding her hand and stroking her hair, I noticed an ever so slight change in her breathing. Apnea set in two days prior, but subsided. Now it was back, but with only about ten seconds between breaths. I can’t describe the new change I noticed, but I turned and called my daughter over. Somehow I knew it was time for Mom to complete her journey. Less than thirty seconds later, she took her last breath.
It’s Time to Go
The moment of her departure was so absolutely clear. In a split second, her facial expression changed for the first time in days, and then she was gone. It was as though we could see her soul being plucked from its outer shell. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I am so thankful that we were there holding her hand through the transition.
A day later, I’m somewhere between numb and raw. The tears come without warning, and I don’t think reality has completely set in. We’re busy with plans for her Celebration of Life, and I’m receiving beautiful messages from her friends and former co-workers, but I still can’t quite believe that my mother is gone.
Nine Long Years
In January, it will be nine years since we saw early signs of the dreaded disease that would eventually ravage the woman who had been my rock for over forty years. I can’t describe how painful it has been to watch her slip away day after day, month after month, and year after year. Alzheimer’s stripped her of her ability to communicate, take care of her own basic needs, and do all the things that she so enjoyed. It ripped her golden years away without remorse. It stole our mother and grandmother in the most cruel and callous way possible.
I don’t even remember life before Alzheimer’s, and I certainly don’t know what life will be like without it. I think we underestimate the mental and emotional toll the disease takes, even in the very early stages. I realize now that I’m exhausted. I feel like I could crawl into bed and sleep for six months. Eventually I’ll figure out what my new “normal” looks like, but I think it will take awhile.
Until We Meet Again
For now, I just want to embrace her memory and hold her so close to my heart. The thought that I won’t be going to visit tomorrow, that I won’t be able to hold her hand and see her smile, is almost too much to bear. Yet my heart also rejoices in the fact that she’s in a much better place now, reunited with her parents and dear sister. Pain free. And it’s true that someday, we will meet again. Until then…