Wow, it’s been a while! I’ve been away from my blog due to family issues. It’s been a really sad, scary, overwhelming, and challenging time. I couldn’t get in the right headspace to write. I had zero desire to put my thoughts down, let alone share what I was going through.
Now I’m ready.
It started last September, exactly one year ago. My mom fell in her front yard and couldn’t get up. It wasn’t like she tripped on anything or misjudged a step. She collapsed and couldn’t move her legs. After a hospital stay, time in skilled nursing, and multiple doctor appointments, she was diagnosed with vascular dementia.
The doctor told us she’d been having numerous mini strokes, which affected both her mind and her body. Looking back, I realize there were signs of her illness for the past two-three years. They were so subtle, no one noticed them at the time.
This past year, I watched my mom transform from a healthy, vibrant, tap-dancing woman who loved life—to frail, bedridden, and confused. It’s a terrifying disease. Dementia stole my mom’s memories, took away her reason for being. Vascular dementia deteriorated her mind and body. I watched her life fade away, bit by bit. Until her body couldn’t take it anymore.
My beautiful mom passed away 8/1/2022.
I desperately miss her. But it’s a relief to no longer worry about her. I know she’s in Heaven, dancing with the angels.
There’s much more to this story, which I’ll talk about in future posts. What’s on my mind now is what my mom told me when she was first diagnosed with dementia:
“Make sure you do the things you want to do, because one day you won’t be able to.”
Mom knew of my love for travel, and she would’ve been so excited about my family’s trip to Portugal last month. It’s a vacation we’d been planning the past two years. We were supposed to go in the fall of 2020. Cancelled. Again, fall 2021. Cancelled due to another Covid surge. Finally, we made it happen this August (even though we worried we’d have to reschedule because of my mom’s condition). But it was all in God’s timing.
It felt surreal to travel and be in a different country, having fun with my family. It was SO different from what my life had been for the past year. While thoughts of my sweet momma were constant, I made sure I was totally present, soaking in every lovely moment with my husband and two daughters. Like my sister often reminds me, “Be where your feet are.”
And throughout our travels in Portugal, I heard my mom’s wise words. Jeni, do what you want to do. One day you won’t be able to. I truly felt my mom’s presence. It was comforting, like her warm embrace. A highlight for me was lighting a candle in her memory in a gorgeous, very old church in Lisbon.
We had a glorious time, walking thousands of steps on the cobblestone streets and tiled sidewalks each day (18,000 steps one day!), ate amazing food and drink, laughed a ton, and simply enjoyed being together. Making memories.
Doing the things we want to do.
I love you, Mom.