Sunday, October 23, 2011
My Mom was good to me to the point that perhaps I was even a little bit spoiled. Okay, a lot spoiled. I was her only daughter, and her youngest of 4 children, so what do you expect? She worked side by side with my Father in the family business they built. Imagine being with your partner 24/7. They did it, and successfully. I don't recall them ever speaking even so much as a cross word to each other. It was true love, and respect.
My Mother could do anything she put her mind to. She knew how to do every kind of craft. Knitting, sewing and ceramics were her specialty though. She also took up golf in her 40's and excelled at that as well. The things that most that knew my Mother remember her for though, is her infectious smile, and her voice. Yes, I said her voice. She had the most beautiful soprano voice I've ever heard in my life. Listening to her singing and playing her piano were just part of our life that I think until we were older we took for granted in our home.
I knew something was wrong with when she didn't want to sing, she got lost in her own neighborhood, and confused a internet instant message for a fax. I was so scared I thought she had a stroke or a brain tumor. After time and testing we would find out that she had Alzheimer's. She and Dad had retired early and moved to Florida, only to find out she had Alzheimer's? This must be a cruel joke.
Mom lived 7 more years after that, all of them steadily downhill. By the end she didn't know any of us we don't think, except for Dad. We got the feeling she still knew him. Of course there was no way to know for sure, because Alzheimer's had stolen her ability to speak. All she could do was mumble. It was especially hard if she would mumble with what looked like a painful look on her face, and you knew she was either troubled by something or in pain, yet you were clueless how to help her.
In the end, Mom went with all of us surrounding her bed. Though she lay with her eyes closed, we played her favorite music next to her bed. Her left leg kept slipping off the bed onto the floor and I would put it back up on the bed, until finally, shocked, I realized what she was doing. While non-responsive in every other way, under the care of hospice, with all of us standing vigil by her bed, she was sliding her foot to the floor, and tapping her foot, to the beat of the music. Just in case I was imagining it, I put her leg back up on the bed. Plop, her leg went right back down, and she was tapping her foot again, to the beat of the music we played for her. Knowing that she could hear we talked and prayed until she passed from her earthly life, to her heavenly one. She still sings, now with a choir of angels. That beautiful voice is back. No Alzheimer's can stop her from singing now.