Celebrating Mother's Life

Celebrating Mother's Life
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Although I was expecting my mom's death, in her eleventh year of Alzheimer's disease, I still felt a loss when I received the call that she'd passed away quietly in her sleep. At her funeral I wanted friends and family to remember her as the vital, giving woman they once knew and to celebrate her life by recalling good memories. I wanted them to realize, too, that even though Mother had been afflicted with Alzheimer's, she still contributed to the lives of her family and the staff at the nursing home.

Learning to Appreciate

As I cared for Mother midst this devastating disease, I learned to appreciate the person she was at that time. Even though she might not know me, might not remember our life in the past, she still could respond in a limited way. At the sound of a friendly voice, she smiled and often tried to talk. With a kiss or a hug, she beamed. When we wheeled her outside to see the flowers of spring, she seemed to appreciate this attention.
At an Easter egg hunt at the nursing home, her eyes followed the antics of the children as they gathered their goodies. As I cared for her, I learned a greater love that comes with serving. We realized she still was a person, even though she was much different from the mother I'd known.

She Taught Great Grandchildren

My grandchildren, her great grandchildren, learned from this elderly lady. They enjoyed visiting her at the nursing home and looked forward to the tea parties we had in her room. Even when she could no longer participate, this ritual had meaning for the children. They learned about caring for the elderly and infirm and knew that Great Grandma could respond in a limited way to our overtures toward her. The children learned to have no fear of nursing homes and know this often is a part of the cycle of life. Even though Mother didn't realize it, she taught her great grandchildren and gave their life value.

She Brightened the Staff's Day

"We enjoy your mother's lovely smile," the staff at the nursing home often told me. She brightened their day and made them feel better because she was there. A friend, who gives piano recitals in nursing homes, said that caring for the elderly often enriches the caregivers' lives. She agreed Mother still had a purpose in her life.

She Leaves a Legacy

Then when God decided Mother had taught us well, he called her to different life. When we remembered her at her funeral I hoped friends and family could celebrate the 91 years of this lady's life. She will live on in our memories, our traditions, and our heritage. She leaves a legacy for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

(c)2001 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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